Every family has its quirks. Some may even seem a little peculiar from an outsider’s perspective. But as a family you love and support each other regardless. That is exactly what the Sycamore family does in the Jungle Theater’s production of You Can’t Take It With You. This family celebrates following their passions and living a life of happiness.
Its 1937 and Grandpa (Raye Birk) left his job 35 years ago because he wasn’t happy. Now he spends his days raising snakes, attending random commencement ceremonies and enjoying his days carefree. His daughter Penny (Angela Timberman) took up writing plays eight years ago when a typewriter was accidently delivered to their house. While son-in-law Paul (John Middleton) creates fireworks in the basement with his assistant Mr. DePinna (Jay Albright). Daughter Essie (Julia Valen) is obsessed with ballet and is constantly breaking out in dance and wandering around the house in her pointe shoes and makes little candies. Son-in-law Ed (Max Wojtanowicz) spends his days playing the xylophone and printing up everything from dinner menus to flyers. Then there is Alice (Anna Sundberg). She works in an office on Wall Street and has fallen for the boss’ son, Toby Kirby, Jr. (Hugh Kennedy).
When Alice and Toby become engaged it’s time for the extremely different families to meet. Alice knows her family is eccentric and fears Toby’s ultra conservative rich parents will not like what they see. Despite Alice’s best efforts to plan the perfect dinner party the Kirby’s (Cathleen Fuller & Nathaniel Fuller) mix up the dates and show up a night early. And the chaotic scene they encounter when they enter the Sycamore’s home is where the hilarity and heart of this show lies.
The creative team comprised of director Gary Gisselman, lighting designer Don Darnutzer, scenic designer Tom Butsch, costume designer Amelia Cheever and sound designer Montana Johnson did a marvelous job working with both the large cast and intimate Jungle Theatre stage. Tom Butsch’s set design is the perfect look of a well lived in home (there are nine people who live there after all). The set serves as the living room, dining room, den, and general living area of the home. But at the same time provides ample space for the large cast to move around as needed for the story.
You Can’t Take It With You is truly a classic story of family, love, happiness and having it all. After all, we may not know what happens after we’re gone, but we certainly know you can’t take it with you.
You Can’t Take It With You is currently playing at The Jungle Theatre in Minneapolis’ Uptown area through August 9. For more information on the show, visit the Jungle Theater’s website.