Grays Harbor College’s fall production, “You Can’t Take It With You,” is opening Friday at the Bishop Center, and director Andrew Gaines promises laughs at every turn.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman premiered on Broadway in 1936 and was adapted into a Frank Capra film in 1938. It has been one of the 10 most often produced plays every year since 1939 — and with good reason, according to Gaines.
“It is a delightfully entertaining piece of theater,” said Gaines. “We have 18 cast members who have brilliantly crafted their characters and honed their comedic timing to land what seems to be a joke a minute. I think audiences will be extremely impressed with the quality of the production.”
The basic story is simple, but brilliantly carried out. Alice Sycamore (played here by Rebecca Meacham) is the “normal” member of a very eccentric household. When her fiance, Tony Kirby (Jeff Rockwell), brings his straitlaced Wall Street parents to meet her family, mayhem (of course) ensues.
Brad Duffy — Gaines’ predecessor as GHC’s drama director — “does an amazing job” as Martin Vanderhof, the patriarch of Alice’s eccentric family, he said. “I think you could call it the role of a lifetime.”
Another highlight is Elise Urbaniak, the mother of a former GHC drama student (now graduated), who is making her stage debut as Alice’s loving mother, Penny.
“This is a substantial role, and she’s really doing a great job with it,” said Gaines. “She really captures the essence and spirit of this very quirky and fun character, with terrific comedic timing.”
Even the set is remarkable, he said.
“Audiences can expect a huge ‘wow’ factor when they walk into the theater and set their eyes on the magnificent set that Art Oestreich has built with a skeleton crew,” he said. “The realism is incredible. You feel like you’re in a 1930s living room.”
And then there are the special effects.
“Some of the characters are making fireworks in the basement to earn some money,” Gaines noted, “and so audiences can expect some excitement onstage as we experiment with some pyrotechnics.”
The play will run for the next two weekends, Nov. 8-10 and 15-17. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays.
Gaines advises patrons to secure their seats as early as possible. The audience will be seated onstage, not in the “shell,” so tickets are limited to about 75 people per performance.
Tickets are $15; children 12 and younger are admitted free. To reserve seats in advance, visit ghc.edu/bishop or call Margo Hood at 360-538-4066.