BWW Reviews: YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU at Everyman Theatre - A Hit in Every Way
Everyman Theatre Artistic Director Vince Lancisi took the stage prior to the performance and explained that You Can't It Take With You was chosen to end Everyman's life in their North Charles Street home. Clever idea. But as is normal, the NEW home at the old Town Theater in downtown Baltimore on Fayette Street won't be ready until the spring of 2013. He did confide in the fact that YCTIWY is the last play he will direct in the space.
He made one request. "Have as much fun as the actors do. I dare you." And audiences have certainly complied. It's now the talk of the town - "Don't miss Everyman's You Can't Take it with You." And for good reason.
Lancisi assembled an all-star cast of 19 to present the 1936 Pulitzer Prize winning play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart with some of the finest actors ever to appear on a Baltimore stage and they include perennial favorites Megan Anderson (Essie), Clinton Brandhagen (Ed), Wil Love (Mr. DePinna), Stan Weiman (Grandpa Martin Vanderhof), Bruce Randolph Nelson (Kohlenkov), Carl Schurr (Mr. Kirby), and Deborah Hazlett (Mrs. Kirby). Add to that list the incomparable Caitlin O'Connell (Penny) who I recall seeing in at least nine plays over the years at Center Stage. Making their Everyman debut are the wonderful Chinai J. Hardy (Rheda) and Jon Hudson Odom (Donald) who almost steal the show.
Other notable actors include Brianna Letourneau (Alice), Barbara Pinolini (Gay Wellington), Steve Sawicki (Henderson), Matthew Schleigh (Tony Kirby), Kimberly Schraf (Olga), and Tom Weyburn (Paul Sycamore).
The artistic team is comprised of many of the Everyman's Resident Designers including Daniel Ettinger (an amazing set), Jay Hersog (lovely lighting), David Burdick (terrific costumes), Chas Marsh (sound design) and Lewis Shaw (fight choreographer).
Getting back to the set, every inch of the stage is covered with tchatskis, a working xylophone (lovely classical tunes played by the talented Brandhagen), a working printing press, a human skull next to the Royal typewriter, and a solarium full of snakes. Your typical 1936 Manhattan home.
Oh, did I forgot the cutest two kittens you've ever seen on stage (played by six kittens thanks to the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter, Inc.)
If you've never seen the show or the wonderful1938 Academy Award winning Frank Capra film (which starred Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur), it concerns a bohemian household where fireworks are made in the basement, one daughter (Essie) dances in her tutu all over the house taught by her Russian ballet teacher Kohlenkov (the magnificent Nelson), her sister Alice is in love with a co-employee from a rich conservative family, the IRS can't understand why Grandpa hasn't paid any taxes, and Penny writes plays due to the delivery of a typewriter by mistake.
You have until June 17 to see YCTIWY. For tickets, call 410-752-2208 or visit www.everymantheatre.org where you can see a video preview.