The Theater Lab's Production of 1936 Play, "You Can't Take It With You," Explores How Much - and How Little - America Has Changed

  • District 214 Community Education's Theater Troupe, The Theater Lab, rehearses for its production of "You Can't Take It With You." Featuring left to right: Dale Glanzman as Paul Sycamore, Allison Fradkin as Essie Carmichael, Patricia Tinsley as Grandma/Martha C. Vanderhof, Cassidy Keenan as Alice Sycamore, Stephen Pickering as Ed Carmichael, and Ashley Ayers as Penny Sycamore. Performances run May 6-8, 2022.District 214 Community Education

    District 214 Community Education's Theater Troupe, The Theater Lab, rehearses for its production of "You Can't Take It With You." Featuring left to right: Dale Glanzman as Paul Sycamore, Allison Fradkin as Essie Carmichael, Patricia Tinsley as Grandma/Martha C. Vanderhof, Cassidy Keenan as Alice Sycamore, Stephen Pickering as Ed Carmichael, and Ashley Ayers as Penny Sycamore. Performances run May 6-8, 2022.District 214 Community Education

 
 
Updated 5/5/2022 9:06 AM

The play, "You Can't Take It With You," written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1936, and along with The Theater Lab's previous production, "Our Town," remains one of the most performed plays by amateur companies in America. The 1938 Capra film adaptation won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director that year. The play has been revived on Broadway repeatedly. However, its popularity was not the driving force behind the decision for The Theater Lab, a District 214 Community Education Program, to mount the play as the closing production of its 2021-2022 season.

"A product of 1936, 'You Can't Take It With You' is a very particular moment in American history that was full of contradictions," says John Meyers, director of the production and artistic director for The Theater Lab. "The Great Depression had been grinding on for nearly a decade and the gap between poor people and the wealthy was still widening despite efforts by the government to deal with unemployment and a stagnant economy; race was an issue and wars were raging overseas; yet people were beginning to feel optimistic about the future again."

 

Meyers adds, "In some ways, the America of 1936 that we see in 'You Can't Take It With You' is very much the same as our America of 2022- referencing the nation's current recovery from a difficult economic situation, a war unfolding in Europe that threatens world stability, and continued challenges with discrimination around the globe. We still struggle with trying to simply talk about race, we still have a huge gap between the poor and the wealthy, and we are still arguing about the character of our nation."

"The specificity of the play is what makes it so timeless," continues Meyers. "Just like Alice, Tony, and their families, we are all simply human beings looking for love and happiness in the world."

The Theater Lab will present a limited four-performance run of "You Can't Take It With You" Friday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 7 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 8 at 3 p.m. All performances will take place at Forest View Educational Center, 2121 S. Goebbert Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60005.

Tickets for The Theater Lab's production of "You Can't Take It With You" can be purchased through District 214 Community Education's registration system at https://www.ce.d214.org/theater-lab or by calling (847) 718-7700. General admission tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, $12 for students, and District 214 Gold Card Members receive 15% off.

Bring mom for free Sunday, May 8, 2022, in honor of Mother's Day. To take advantage of this promotion, buy your tickets in advance for the May 8 performance at https://www.ce.d214.org/theater-lab and add the "Mother's Day" ticket option to your cart.

To find out about additional promotions, learn more about The Theater Lab, and go behind the scenes of its production of "You Can't Take It With You," follow District 214 Community Education's The Theater Lab on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/D214CETheaterLab) and Instagram (http://instagram.com/thetheaterlab).

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