The comedy “You Can’t Take It With You,” one of the funniest productions to ever hit a Broadway stage, just finished its run at the Longacre Theatre on West 48th Street. You won’t see so much zaniness on a Broadway stage for a long time after this production. The story by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman is so original and so crazy funny, you will find yourself laughing uncontrollably.
The casting was pure genius. Veteran Broadway star James Earl Jones played the patriarch of the Vanderhof family—and the casting is truly colorblind, as he is the only Black member of the family. He is someone who believes in being happy and not being part of the rat race. One day when going to the office, he just decided he had enough and never went back to work. He is also someone who has never paid taxes, telling the IRS, “I don’t believe in it.”
Zany is definitely a word to describe the comedy on the stage, which is nonstop. This family is dysfunctional but in such amusing ways. Alice, Mr. Vanderhof’s granddaughter, is in love with her boss’s son, Tony Kirby. However, Alice is concerned about how strangely her family behaves and how the rich, proper Kirby family will feel about them. Her concern is justified, as her family exhibits some very extreme behavior, as do some of their extreme, over-the-top friends.
Jones’ co-stars were an immensely talented ensemble and included Anna Chlumsky, Annaleigh Ashford, Johanna Day, Julie Halston, Byron Jennings, Patrick Kerr, Fran Kranz, Kristine Nielsen, Reg Rogers, Richard Thomas and Elizabeth Ashley. Scott Ellis provided perfect comedic direction.
This show was what Broadway should always offer—a great storyline, great actors and a great escape for the audience!