Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Theater: You Can't Take It With You
by JONATHAN ABARBANEL
2004-07-14

This article shared 2935 times since Wed Jul 14, 2004
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Playwright: George S. Kauman, Moss Hart

At: Open Eye Productions at Athenaeum

Phone: (312) 902-1500 (Ticketmaster, fee); $15-$18

Runs through: Aug. 14

You Can't Take It With You pretty nearly is foolproof. It's the most optimistic and least sardonic Kaufman and Hart comedy, which may account for its enduring popularity. Just about everyone knows the play or film version and almost every actor has been in some production of it. It's wacky and loveable characters have withstood both the test of time and brutal assaults by high school and community theater actors. It's hard to sink You Can't Take It With You, but it's also hard to make it soar like an eagle. To make it soar you have to get both the spirit of the piece and the period details right.

Under director Christopher Maher, Open Eye Productions captures the hopeful heart, gentle satire and wistful charm of the play, written as a buck-'em-up romantic comedy in the depths of the Great Depression. It bucked 'em up plenty, capturing the 1936 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 1938 Best Picture Oscar. But it's tricky. Are Grandpa Vanderhof and the Sycamore family contented and harmless eccentrics? Or are they carelessly self-absorbed people who nearly ruin their daughter's romance, hopelessly out-of-touch with a real world about to explode? A caustic version of this play would be an interesting deconstruction, but you won't find it here. Open Eye respects the play's simpler world with its small problems, best-case solutions and warm drollery.

The period details are not perfection, but they go most of the way. The often-ragtag costuming hits pay dirt in the outfits for romantic lead Alice Sycamore, especially the fresh white-with-red-flowers frock in which she first appears. Smashing! The major furniture pieces are appropriate for a modest 1930's home, but the fancy French telephone and the 1950's radio (it should be a cathedral radio) break the illusion. And, say, that song everyone sings, 'Goodie, Goodie,' wasn't it written after 1936? Even a production in a small theater such as this one, staged on a tight budget, must achieve the fullest possible verisimilitude.

The acting mostly works, as director Maher and the 17-person cast use understatement to their advantage, a wise idea in a small studio playhouse. When they do not—a few moments with the Russian bear Kolenhekov—the balance and tone are thrown out-of-whack. Generally, the principal characters get it just right. Dean Peerman (Grandpa), Sara R. Sevigny (Penny Sycamore), Carolyn Wright (Alice Sycamore) and Daniel Shea (Tony Kirby, Alice's love interest) have a sensible reality about them that's a necessary anchor in a screwball comedy. As Grandpa, Peerman not only is the right age—which is rare enough—but also has an easy-going pixie-ish charm, a light and confident grace.

You can't take it with you, but you'll enjoy it while it lasts.


This article shared 2935 times since Wed Jul 14, 2004
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER 'The Last Pair of Earlies' running Oct. 27-Dec. 12 at Raven 2021-09-28
- Raven Theatre, Chicago's newest Equity-affiliated theatre, is welcoming back audiences this fall with the world premiere of Joshua Allen's The Last Pair of Earlies, directed by Wardell Julius Clark. This new drama—which follows the hardships ...


Gay News

Next OUTspoken 'Storytelling Night' Oct. 5 2021-09-27
--From a press release - Six Chicagoans will tell compelling stories with a LGBTQ+ perspective when another OUTspoken "Storytelling Night" takes place Tuesday, Oct. 5, starting at 7 p.m., at Sidetrack Bar, 3349 N. Halsted St. All attendees must be masked ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Moulin Rouge!,' gay play 'The Inheritance' win top Tonys 2021-09-27
- Moulin Rouge! The Musical was the runaway winner at the Tony Awards on Sept. 26, snagging 10 awards. Among its honors were Best Musical, Best Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Volume 5-SEX! 2021-09-24
- Title: The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Volume 5—SEX! Playwright: David Cerda At: Hell In a Handbag Productions at the Leather Archives and Museum. Tickets: $27-$45. Runs through: HandbagProductions.org It could almost be the premise for ...


Gay News

THEATER Ex-'Jagged Little Pill' performers accuse production of anti-TGNC behavior 2021-09-24
- Two former cast members of Broadway's Jagged Little Pill—including Tony-nominated featured actress Celia Rose Gooding—released statements accusing the production of committing "harm to the trans and non-binary community, both onstage ...


Gay News

TimeLine Theatre Company announces 25th Anniversary Season 2021-09-24
Video below--From a press release - Chicago, IL, September 24, 2021 — TimeLine Theatre Company, acclaimed for presenting plays that explore today's social and political issues through the lens of the past, is thrilled to announce that it will celebrate its 25th ...


Gay News

'Firebird' opens Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ Internat'l Film Fest tonight 2021-09-23
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois — Tonight, the 39th annual Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival invites audiences to enjoy an in-person pre-party and theater screening of 'Firebird' for Opening Night at the Music Box Theater. Director P ...


Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf's 'Bug' running Nov. 11-Dec. 12 2021-09-22
- Steppenwolf Theatre Company will welcome audiences back for in-person performances for the first time in 20 months with its acclaimed revival of Bug by ensemble member Tracy Letts, in the Downstairs Theater on Nov. 11-Dec. 12. ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow' available for download 2021-09-21
- It's Pompeii meets Heathers as New American Folk Theatre continues its "season of audio theatre" with a new studio recording of its 2018 hit comedy Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow. The production was written by ...


Gay News

Congo Square Theatre Co. announces new Artistic Director Ericka Ratcliff 2021-09-20
- Congo Square Theatre Company, an African American theater company, announced that longtime company member Ericka Ratcliff will serve as its new artistic director, effective immediately. Ratcliff becomes only the fourth ...


Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf presenting three Tracy Letts virtual works Sept. 29-Oct. 24 2021-09-18
- Leading up to ensemble member Tracy Letts' production Bug returning this November to Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theater, the company is bringing audiences a sampler of the playwright's voice to their homes with a trio of new virtual ...


Gay News

Frank Ferrante to return as 'Groucho' for one night 2021-09-15
- Actor/director Frank Ferrante returns to his internationally heralded stage performance for one night only in "An Evening With Groucho" on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at the Spiegeltent ZaZou, on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel Chicago ...


Gay News

THEATER Out actor Dan Butler to be in 'When Harry Met Rehab' 2021-09-15
- Don Clark, a Chicago-based film/theater producer as well as co-owner of the Chicago Magic Lounge, will present the world premiere of When Harry Met Rehab—a comedy that takes sobriety seriously and is based loosely on the ...


Gay News

Students urged to apply for Musical Theatre Awards 2021-09-14
- Broadway in Chicago is inviting high schools across Illinois to participate in the 11th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in high school theater throughout the state. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, ...


Gay News

First Floor Theater announces 2021-22 season 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL (Sept. 13, 2021) — First Floor Theater is excited to announce their ninth live-production season, featuring one world premiere and one Chicago premiere, along with a second round of The Blueprint Commission, it' new ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.