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Weathervane's staging of 'You Can't Take It With You' a delight

by April Helms | Special Products Editor Published: September 2, 2016 12:00 AM
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Ballet lessons danced to xylophone music. Corn flakes for dinner. Fireworks going off at intervals in the basement.

This might sound unusual to most people, but the Sycamore family is far from traditional. They are the focal point in "You Can't Take It With You" by Moss Hart and George Kaufman, which Weathervane opened its mainstage 2016-17 season.

Many of the actors in the cast make their debut with Weathervane with this hilarious comedy, but the cast, directed by Fred Gloor, all put in strong performances during the Aug. 26 opening night show. Also, special kudos to scenic designer Jonathan Hunter and props designer Susan Rusinoff -- the set and decor were phenomenal. The set is multiple levels to accommodate the frenetic and creative activity of the Sycamore family, and every space is stuffed with books and mementos, including the space underneath the main floor. The stage has the feel of barely controlled chaos.

In the play, Alice Sycamore (Tekla Gaughan) has fallen in love with Tony Kirby (Gordon Hinchen), the son of wealthy business owner Anthony W. Kirby (Ian Haberman). But will the conventional Kirby family accept the less-than-conventional Sycamores? On any given day, Father Paul Sycamore (Scott K. Davis) and Mr. De Pinna (Jasen J. Smith) can be found in the basement, trying out new types of fireworks. Essie Carmichael (Kaylea Kudlaty) takes regular ballet lessons from Boris Kolenkhov (Greg Emanuelson) in the living room, while her husband Ed (Joshua Larkin) accompanies with his "original" arrangements on xylophone. Mother Penny Sycamore (Christie Hunka) fluctuates between her steamy plays in progress and her painting. The maid Rheba (Brandi Eaton) and her sweetheart Donald (Zack Manthey) go with the flow and even embrace the unconventionality. Meanwhile, grandfather Martin Vanderhoff (Lee Lavery) dispenses his brand of wisdom to his family while trying to ignore the IRS. The situation seems bleak for poor Alice and Tony when Tony, his father and his mother Miriam (Jeannie Clarkson) come for dinner.

Rounding out the excellent cast are Timothy Kelly, who plays the frustrated IRS agent Wilbur C. Henderson; Melanie YC Pepe, who is hilarious as the drunk actress Gay Wellington; Harriet DeVeto, who plays Kolenkhov's friend the Grand Duchess Olga Katrina; and Matt Blasio and Ben Mehalik, who play G-Men.

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Show information

You Can't Take It with You runs through Sept. 11. Shows are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available at weathervaneplayhouse.com or by calling the box office at 330-836-2626.

Weathervane Playhouse is at 1301 Weathervane Lane in Akron.

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Next up

Next on stage is the musical "Little Shop of Horrors," which runs Sept. 25 through Oct. 16.

In addition, Weathervane will have a one-night only show, "The Magic of David Anthony," on Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438

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