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You Can’t Take It With You

You Can’t Take It With You won a Pulitzer Prize for best drama; the film version won the Oscar for best picture and director. It’s one of the most beloved and performed plays in the American theatrical canon, delivered onto high school and community theater stages with a frequency that would make Domino’s proud.

So why is the Kaufman-and-Hart classic comedy dismissed by some as an “old chestnut” not worthy of a professional production, especially at our premiere Equity theater that has produced new plays and regional premieres of intelligent, challenging plays? Perhaps because the Pulitzer and Oscar wins occurred in the late 1930s, and perhaps because casts of the very tightly structured and crafted comedy typically get more gray hair dye and Clearasil than direction. You Can’t Take It With You isn’t valued or respected, especially when performed sans the dessert tray nearby.

Capital Repertory Theatre’s artistic director, Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, bristles at the suggestion. “This play has heart,” she says, with a pie-in-the-face stare, when asked why after Medea in Jerusalem and Syncopation Capital Rep would dip into dinner-theater fare. “You Can’t Take It With You was one of the very first plays that I directed as a professional back in the Denver area, more years ago than I care to confess. It’s got a contemporary message, one so timely in our current climate,” she adds, launching into a litany of why the saga of the eccentric Vanderhof family is timely given current scandals and hypocrisies. She seems to be channeling Al Franken and Alan Chartock simultaneously, with a touch of Garrison Keillor as a garnish.

“This play has been on my short list for some time, and it just seems so right to do now. I couldn’t ask for a better introduction to theater for kids and families, and this is a classic. They wrote this play so well that you just have to hit it right, because you know the laughs are there. You know, there’s a reason that this play has endured. After Syncopation opened to rave reviews, someone was commiserating with me that I ‘had to direct such a turkey next,’ and I just smiled. You Can’t Take It With You was cutting-edge in its day, and it still has its edge now. With the holidays fast approaching, this seemed so right for so many reasons on so many levels.” And chestnuts roasting on an open fire seem just about right for the holidays.

You Can’t Take It With You, directed by Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, runs tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 18) through Dec. 18 at Capital Repertory Theatre (111 N. Pearl St., Albany). The final dress rehearsal, a pay-what-you-will sneak-peek performance, will be held tonight (Thursday, Nov. 17) at 7:30 PM. Tickets are available at 6 PM, limit four per person. Preview performances begin tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 18) and continue through Tuesday (Nov. 22).

Regular performances begin Wednesday (Nov. 23). Ticket prices from range from $25.00 to $40.00, depending upon day and time. To reserve tickets or for additional information, call 445-7469 or visit www.capitalrep.org.

—James Yeara

One Bright Shining Moment

Before you go getting your hopes up, that’s the name of a movie. If we were given a guarantee that there would actually be one bright shining moment this week—just one out of so many thousands—you can bet we’d share the information with our readers. We’re generous like that.

The title is a reference to a time when such a thing was actually experienced in U.S. politics: the inspiring 1972 presidential campaign of Senator George McGovern. (The film’s complete title is One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern.) And what a moment it was— it truly seemed that McGovern might be on track to change the course of U.S. history; that is, until the whole campaign went to pot around the time of the Democratic Convention, thanks in no small part to the Nixon administration’s dirty-tricks campaign. Narrated by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, director Stephen Vittoria’s film weaves together archival footage and interviews with insiders and prominent progressives (including Warren Beatty, Gore Vidal, and Howard Zinn) to paint a portrait of a man (and a nation, perhaps) whose full potential was never quite realized.

One Bright Shining Moment will be screened at Time and Space Limited (434 Columbia St., Hudson) tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 18) at 7:30 PM, and again on Sunday (Nov. 20) at 5 PM. Admission is $6, $4 for members and students. For more information, call 822-8448 or visit www.timeandspace.org.

311

Omaha, Neb.—the new Seattle, some are saying. The home of Bright Eyes, Cursive and the Faint, among others, the “others” including 311.

Comparable? Maybe, maybe not. Worth checking out? Sure. With their latest album Don’t Tread on Me doing decently on the charts, and a recent greatest-hits album under their studded belts, these guys have been around for a while—and don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

Many would say 311 made their mark with their self-titled third album. The tracks “Down” and “All Mixed Up” hit the airwaves in 1995, with the former reaching No. 1 on the charts. Some critics have said that 311 were ahead of their time, creating more positive “rapcore/punk rock/reggae” music in contrast to the “angst-ridden” tunes of contemporaries Limp Bizkit and Korn.

Not much has changed with 311’s music since the first albums, but that seems to keep their die-hard fans happy. “Even though we’re consistent, it’s never boring,” bass player P-Nut has said in defense of their unchanging style.

Anyway, a band who took their name from a skinny-dipping arrest—in Omaha, 311 is the police code for indecent exposure—have to be worth checking out. Michael Jackson-loving group Alien Ant Farm will open.

311 will be at the Washington Avenue Armory (corner of Washington Avenue and Lark Street, Albany) on Tuesday (Nov. 22) at 7:30 PM. Tickets for the show are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. For more information, call 476-1000.


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