You Can’t Take It With You BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich

  • NBC

  • AP


  • HR

Opening Night:
September 28, 2014
February 22, 2015

Theater: Longacre Theatre / 220 West 48th Street, New York, NY, 10036


Family can do crazy things to people. And the Sycamore family is a little crazy to begin with. Come join 2-time Tony Award winner James Earl Jones as the head of the wackiest household to ever hit Broadway in Kaufman and Hart’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic You Can't Take It With You. He plays wily Grandpa Vanderhof, leader of a happily eccentric gang of snake collectors, cunning revolutionaries, ballet dancers and skyrocket makers. But when the youngest daughter brings her fiancé and his buttoned-up parents over for dinner, that’s when the real fireworks start to fly.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF You Can’t Take It With You

    Screwball Magic Does the Trick ‘You Can’t Take It With You,’ Handled Properly, Ages Well

    Ben Brantley

    September 28, 2014: The only downside to the unconditional upper called You Can’t Take It With You, which wafted open last night at the Longacre Theater, is that it may strain previously underused muscles around your mouth. That can happen when you spend two-and-a-half hours grinning like an idiot. A lot of shows can make you laugh. What’s rare is a play that makes you beam from curtain to curtain. Such is the effect of Scott Ellis’s felicitous revival of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s 1936 comedy about one improbably happy family during the Great Depression, which stars a haloed James Earl Jones as the wise old leader of the clan. This is, frankly, surprising news to me. Though it won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, the very mention of You Can’t Take It With You is known to elicit shivers of revulsion among people who saw or appeared in high school productions.

  • NBC NEW YORK REVIEW OF You Can’t Take It With You

    A Joyous "You Can't Take It With You," with James Earl Jones

    Robert Kahn

    September 28, 2014: James Earl Jones, more often a lion who roars, instead brings a soft steadiness to his role as the family patriarch in You Can’t Take It With You, the Moss Hart-George S. Kaufman comedy—a perennial favorite that first arrived during the Great Depression—now enjoying a revival at the Longacre Theatre. You Can’t Take It With You still feels like the perfect escapist comedy for tough times, in spite of its creaky references to “the 48 states” and Eleanor Roosevelt. For that, you can thank a top-notch ensemble that includes Rose Byrne, in an impressive Broadway debut, as well as helmsman Scott Ellis (“Drood”), whose zippy direction brings the play’s three acts in at 2 hours and 20 minutes. Byrne, a star of TV’s Damages and the foil to Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids, is Alice, the only conventional member of the happy-go-lucky Sycamore clan. How the Sycamores pay for their magnificent house near Columbia University is anyone’s guess, because the family patriarch, Martin Vanderhof—or just “Grandpa” (Jones)—hasn’t worked in 35 years.


    'You Can't Take It With You' Crazy, Uneven

    Mark Kennedy

    September 28, 2014: You know the play you're watching might be a little long in the tooth when there are jokes about Eleanor Roosevelt, the Works Project Administration and Calvin Coolidge, and it makes reference to the nation's 48 states. As in not 50 yet. The Great Depression was still palpable when Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman wrote their Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy You Can't Take It With You in 1936, some 23 years before Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union. A sweet revival opened Sunday at the Longacre Theatre with a perfectly picked cast but offering little reason why this old chestnut needs to be seen again. It stars a remarkable ensemble that includes such stage luminaries as James Earl Jones, Elizabeth Ashley and Byron Jennings, the British actress Rose Byrne, seasoned veterans Kristine Nielsen and Reg Rogers, rising star Annaleigh Ashford and TV favorite Mark Linn-Baker.

  • HUFFINGTON POST REVIEW OF You Can’t Take It With You

    You Can't Take It With You' Takes You With It Merrily

    David Finkle

    September 28, 2014: On the way into You Can't Take It With You, the revival at the Longacre of the 1936 George S. Kaufman-Moss Hart comedy, I ran into Anne Kaufman Schneider. For those who don't know, Schneider is Kaufman's daughter and the primary keeper (now that Kitty Carlisle Hart is gone) of the collaborators' flame. Since I know her slightly, I said hello and reminded her where we'd met, et cetera. Well worth understanding about Schneider -- at least from what I've picked up in our brief acquaintance -- is that she has inherited two traits from her father: his sense of humor and his suffer-no-deficient-production-gladly attitude. I asked her if she'd seen the new production. (She recalled that she saw the original production when she was nine or so.) She said she'd already attended this one more than once and would be at the opening. Then she said, "It's good."


    Chock full o' nuts and still a delicious treat

    David Rooney

    September 28, 2014: With its spirited defense of lives lived for sheer joy rather than for achievement, ambition, financial gain or rank, the 1936 play You Can't Take It With You proved an escapist tonic in the midst of the Great Depression. It has remained irresistible in the decades since, in particular to anyone ambivalent about that overrated concept of the work ethic. The prototype for countless comedies about wacky families blithely out of step with the world around them, this giddy romp by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman is a perennial favorite of high school and community theaters but has been absent from Broadway for 30 years. So it's time to give it a warm welcome back. The deluxe revival is directed with unflagging energy and an assured grasp of the play's shifting rhythms by comedy pro Scott Ellis. This is a work that champions the individualist, and the director follows suit by marshaling his impeccable cast to create loopy characterizations. Yet in what might be the most crucial requirement, they all inhabit the same universe, banding together in defiance of the hard times blighting the nation. That applies whether they are charter members of the eccentric Vanderhof-Sycamore clan or figures drawn either voluntarily or haplessly into the family's chaotic orbit.



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