(COVINGTON, La.) — Not since 2006 has the production “You Can’t Take it With You” graced the St. Paul’s School community, but starting Nov. 2 the comedy is scheduled to make a triumphant return to the Alumni Memorial Theatre.
The plot follows Grandpa Vanderhof and his unique family as they live their eccentric lives, composed of many abnormal and comical activities. The family’s eldest daughter, Alice Sycamore begins a relationship with Tony Kirby, son of a very wealthy and well-known family in the business world. The remainder of the story reveals whether the two families, both of different social classes, can collide peacefully.
“You Can’t Take It with You” is a three-act play, written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, which made its debut as a play on Broadway in 1936. In 1937, the play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and later won an Academy Award for Best Picture for the movie adaptation.
“This show is so upbeat,” Director Denny Charbonnet said. “It’s a classic with a beautifully written script. It has a terrific message, and it’s a wonderfully funny show.”
The cast and crew of the play are also excited about the play and feel the most important aspect is the meaning behind the play.
“I like the message.” Reagan Hill, who portrays supporting character Tony Kirby, said. “The message is the title of the show ‘You Can’t Take It with You’, so you need to do what you love in life.”
Hill, who suffered a traumatic experience two years ago that nearly left him paralyzed, uses his life experience to help fulfill and portray his character.
“After my injury, I learned to really cherish life,” Hill said, “and just take everything that life gives me and just spin it positively and enjoy it. Tony’s whole character is that he wants to enjoy his life as well, just like the Sycamore family, so I think I am going to use my experience in enjoying life after my injury and put that into trying to enjoy life with Tony.”
Charbonnet also hopes that the audience will understand the vital message of the play, just as the cast and crew do.
“I want (the audience) to get Grandpa’s sense of what’s really important in life,” Charbonnet said. “It’s not the things that you take with you. You can’t take money with you when you die. What you take with you is the relationships, the people. What did you do with your life? What did you do with every minute of your life? Did you put the most into every day and enjoy every day? And as a Catholic school, we take beyond that — what have you done for our God?”
During one scene, for example, Grandpa is sitting at the dinner table and is speaking to God like his best friend, which underscores the central theme.
The leading cast includes Nico Arcuri as Grandpa, Christian Butler as Paul Sycamore, Chloe Charbonnet as Penny Sycamore, Luke Vargas as Ed, Abby Hayes as Essie, Justin McCleskey as Mr. De Pinna, Isaac Hebert as Boris Kolenkhov, Josh Rovira as Donald, Bella Vargas as Rheba, Reagan Hill as Tony Kirby, and Julia Albright as Alice Sycamore.
Additional characters are portrayed by AJ LaCroix as Mr. Henderson, Chris Wallace as Mr. Hickson, Austin Scheyd as Mr. Kirby, Margaret Baglow as Mrs. Kirby, Grace Pierson as Gay Wellington, Anthony Bonano as Duke Oleg, Shane Davies as The Man (G-Man), Ethan Hopel as Jim (G-Man) and, Garrett Boyce as Ernie (G-Man).
Additional G-Men are portrayed by John Baglow, Evan Carse, Caleb Lind, and Brady Meibaum.
The production crew includes Director Denny Charbonnet, Assistant/Technical Director Barrett Baumgartner, Set Construction Coordinator Michael Boudreaux, Lighting Designer Ellen Lipkos, Choreography/Costume Designer Elise Angelette, Stage Manager Jack Fleming, light board operator Christian Thibodeaux, and sound board operator Sam Kenney.
Additional credit goes to Heidi Scheuermann and Michael Sitarz for the program, Jan Meibaum for hair, Janet McRae for makeup, Andrea Francis and Janet McRae for tickets, Parent Coordinator Kim Hill, props by Rhonda Baumgartner, T-shirts by Bobby and Annette Thomas, poster design by Christi Simoneaux, Trisha Stewart for the food program, Angela Rovira and Jenny Pierson for concessions, Susan McCleskey and Sarah Caffrey for tickets and posters, Kim Hebert and Robin Scheyd for cast party, Christine Baglow and Jenny Pierson for preview night, Ethan Hopel and Karen Hebert for publicity, and set dressing and furnishing by Angelle Albright, Rhonda Baumgartner, and Moms.
The show runs Nov. 2, 3, and 5 at 7 p.m. with a matinee performance on Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available from Braswell Drugs on Tyler St. in Covington or in the Administration Building on St. Paul’s School campus, which can be reached at (985) 892-3200 ext. 0. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.
“You Can’t Take It with You” is produced with special permission by Dramatist Play Service, Inc.