Can’t Take It With 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.
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.
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
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.
Bright Shining Moment
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.
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.
Neb.—the new Seattle, some are saying. The home of Bright
Eyes, Cursive and the Faint, among others, the “others”
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.