BWW Jr: YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU
or the past few years, my Broadway Baby and I have seen a lot of musicals, but until now we've never seen a play together. Usually, Broadway plays are not geared towards the under 16 set, even the comedies. So when I was invited to take my eleven year old theatre fan to see YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, the three-act, Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, I was thrilled.
My daughter was dubious.
Her: It's not a musical?
Me: No, it's a play. But it's a comedy.
Her: Will I think it's funny?
Me: I don't know honey. I hope so.
Her: (Indecipherable groan)
Me: Well, it has the girl from Kinky Boots in it. (Annaleigh Ashford)
Her: That's cool. She's really funny.
Me: And James Earl Jones!
Her: Who? Me: Darth Vader.
Her: (Finally impressed) Cool!
And off we went to the Longacre Theatre, to see a 1937 Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy staring Darth Vader.
The show did not disappoint. The classic comedy is an American depression-era version of the modern day sitcom. Annaleigh Ashford and Will Brill serve up enough physical comedy to bring even the sulkiest teen onboard for the ride, and the entire cast, with fast pacing, quick jokes, zany antics and even a good amount of live pyrotechnics make YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU a great choice for kids ages eight and up.
There's something refreshing about bringing your family to see Broadway shows that inherently and organically appeal to modern day kids. Not that I'm not a huge supporter of bringing your kids to see ALADDIN or LION KING! It's natural to reserve our precious ticket-buying dollars for musicals that are designed for families, and any junior Broadway fan would be lucky to enjoy those kinds of shows. But rarely do parents have an opportunity to bring their kids to a classic American comedy that brings to the stage a bit of theatrical history and a story that can entertain kids and parents alike without pandering to the family market.
The only word of caution I must throw out is about running time. This is a comedy in three acts and it runs over two hours. In the third act, the incredible Mr. James Earl Jones delivers the show's message in a jovial but non-comedic monologue that might live a little late in the evening for young attention spans. If you're considering bringing your youngest ones, make sure they are available and able to focus for that length of time. The intermissions are strictly ten minutes long, so a bathroom stop and a snack may be ambitious.
From This Author Erin Leigh Peck