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John Kinzer
IU Department of Theatre and Drama

Last modified: Monday, July 2, 2012

Family at heart of Indiana Festival Theatre's 'You Can't Take It With You'

WHAT: "You Can't Take It With You," by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, directed by Dale McFadden.
WHEN: Special discounted preview at 7:30 p.m. July 12. Opens 7:30 p.m. July 13, with additional performances through July 29. For specific dates and times, visit
WHERE: All performances take place at the Wells-Metz Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center at 275 N. Jordan Ave. No photography or recording of any kind is permitted during performances.
TICKETS: Tickets available at the IU Auditorium Box Office or online at Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for any student and those 18 and younger. Voucher for four tickets available from $48 to $75. Call 812-855-1103 for group rates.
MORE: "You Can't Take It With You" will run in repertory, alternating dates and times with "The Taming of the Shrew" with the same cast in both shows.

July 2, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- For more than three-quarters of a century, "You Can't Take It With You" has filled theaters with laughter. Beginning July 12, Indiana Festival Theatre will continue that tradition as it presents the comedy in repertory with Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" at the Wells-Metz Theatre on IU's Bloomington campus.


Grandpa (guest artist Ken Farrell) tries to help daughter Penelope Sycamore (IU alumna Abby Rowold) write her next play in Indiana Festival Theatre's production of "You Can't Take It With You," playing in the Wells-Metz Theatre.

Print-Quality Photo

"You Can't Take It With You" centers on the unconventional Sycamore family and the mayhem that ensues when their daughter's fiancé arrives at the Sycamore residence with his prim and proper parents for an introductory dinner on the wrong night. Fireworks fly when the Sycamores' quirky behaviors collide with the Kirbys' buttoned-up attitudes, while audiences discover the universality of family and learn that sometimes eccentricities are the ties that bind.

An immediate hit in 1936, "You Can't Take It With You" ran on Broadway for more than two years. Critically loved as well, the play won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. More than 70 years after its premiere, Broadway World said the play is "a masterpiece, one of the most carefully drawn, fully realized depictions of family, honesty, love and human nature ever written for the stage."

Director Dale McFadden calls the play "one of the most satisfying and enduring comedies of the American stage." He said playwrights George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart "created an endearing and zany world where the free spirits are celebrated and the serious folk are suspect. Ultimately, both types of people are brought together in this enjoyable and insightful comedy where tolerance and compassion are extended to all."

Guest artist and IU alumnus Rob Johansen, playing Paul Sycamore, said, "Most stage actors have this show on their bucket list. ... it just sticks with you. And even though it was written quite awhile ago, it's timeless."

Along with McFadden and Johansen, the Indiana Festival Theatre production features guest artists Ken Farrell (Martin Vanderhof), Abby Rowold (Penny) and Ben Abbott (Donald); IU faculty members Ray Hedin (Mr. Kirby), Nancy Lipschultz (Mrs. Kirby) and Adam Noble (Kolenkhov); and IU students Nicole Bruce (Essie), Evelyn Gaynor (Rheba), Timothy Pyles (Mr. De Pinna), Jaysen Wright (Ed), Molly Casey (Alice), Aaron Densley (Tony), Clayton Gerrard (Henderson), Andrea Mellos (Gay/Olga) and Jackson Goldberg (a man).

The creative team includes scenic designer Tim Barbiaux; costume designer Jason Orlenko; lighting designer Lee Burckes; sound designer Colin Shay; stage manager Chelsey Sorbo; and assistant stage manager Olivia Ellery.

Indiana Festival Theatre's series is a highlight of the university's second annual Summer Festival of the Arts, a 113-day celebration that features visual arts, music, cinema, dance and theater on the Bloomington campus.