BWW Review: YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU at The New Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU is the current production running at The New Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas. Dennis D. Hennessy directs the comedic play written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. James A. Misenheimer provides a fantastic set for the cast to operate in and Treva Farrell designed the choreography mainly performed by Katie Karel as Essie Carmichael.

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU opened on Broadway in 1936, running for 838 performances while winning the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Later the play was adapted for the big screen winning the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.

The New Theatre production is extremely well done from every aspect of the play, however the play itself is slow, and the mildly funny jokes outdated. This is the story of an eccentric family and the daughter who wants the family to appear "normal" to her new fiancé, Tony Kirby. Grandpa Vanderhof has recently received letters from the IRS, while Paul Sycamore makes fireworks (which continue to explode) in the basement with Mr. DePinna. Essie Sycamore Carmichael, dreams of becoming a ballerina, her every movement a ballet movement, that according to her teacher Boris Kohlenkov is terrible.

The playbill lists Jim O'Heir starring in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. O'Heir appeared as Jerry Gergich in NBC's "Parks and Recreation" and has appeared in "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Boston Legal," and "Malcolm in the Middle" among other shows. Unfortunately, for Kansas City audiences O'Heir is more of the supporting cast and not in a starring role in The New Theatre production.

Victor Raider-Wexler as Grandpa Martin Vanderhof is fabulous as the character who holds the family and the situation together. He has previously appeared in "Seinfeld," "The King of Queens," and "Everybody Loves Raymond" among other shows. Katie Karel as Essie is the focal point of most of the laughter as her character and the outrageous ballet bring humor to an otherwise dull play filled with subplots and ridiculous characters.

Many of Kansas City's finest actors appear in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, but their talents seem wasted in the supporting roles. The marvelous talents of Deb Buford, John Rensenhouse, Cathy Barnett, and Mark Robbins seem to be barely tapped for their characters.

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU runs through November 29. Purchase tickets by calling the box office at 913-649-7469 or visit The New Theatre website. Photo courtesy of The New Theatre.

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From This Author Steve Wilson

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