Last week I went to see the broadway revival of You Can't Take It With You, starring the great James Earl Jones, Anna Chlumsky (Amy on VEEP), Richard Thomas (John-Boy Walton), Annaleigh Ashford and Kristine Nielsen.
The story of an unconventional family set during the end of the 1920's, it is an utterly charming comedy with a fabulous cast. James Earl Jones, who is over 80, still has the stage presence perfect for the patriarch of the Sycamore family. The man is absolutely amazing!
His daughter fancies herself a playwright since the day a typewriter was accidentally delivered to the house. She works on many plays simultaneously, but doesn't appear to finish any of them. Kristine Nielsen shines in this wacky role, much like she did in Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike.
She is married to Richard Thomas, who spends his time creating fireworks in the basement with his assistant. Thomas looks like he is having the time of his life in this carefree role, smiling the entire show. (Considering the beating he took as Agent Gadd on last week's season three premiere of FX's The Americans, I can see why he enjoys this role so much.)
Annaleigh Ashford steals the show as the daughter who believes she is destined to be a dancer. Her crazy dance routines, set to her husband's xylophone compositions, are hysterical and had everyone is stitches. (I hope she will be back in next season's Masters of Sex on Showtime as sensible and smart Betty- I love her!)
Anna Chlumsky plays the Marilyn to this family's Munsters. She is the only one who appears to have a paying job, and when she falls in love with the boss' son, and he wants to bring his family to meet her family, hilarity and craziness ensues. Her frustration and terror when the families meet is palpable.
An ensemble of this size (20) can be difficult to manuever, but everyone works together like a well-oiled machine. There is a lot of physical comedy, and the choreography is brilliant. We have IRS agents, Russian emigres, high-society possible in-laws, the maid and her boyfriend, and a drunken actress who all combine with this kooky family to create a show that will leave you smiling as you leave the theater.
You Can't Take It With You is a lovely way to spend a few hours forgetting your problems as you lose yourself enjoying this loving, delightful, if kooky (Corn Flakes for dinner every night?) family.
The show closes in three weeks, so get your ticket soon. Discounts are available.
The website is here.