I’m so happy to be bringing you You Can’t Take It With You, the first Broadway offering of Roundabout’s 2014-15 season.
This play is classic comedy at its absolute best. The playwrights George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart were true masters of the form, writing hit after hit in the 1920s and 1930s. With Hart often coming up with the story and Kaufman spicing up the dialogue with his infamous punchlines, the two were a fantastic match. It’s no surprise that this particular piece was the greatest success of their artistic partnership. Combining memorable characters with skillful farce, the play has continued to be one of the most popular American comedies for decade after decade.
Set in 1937 against the backdrop of the Depression, You Can’t Take It With You also goes deeper than many comedies of its time. Audiences of the period were looking for escapism in popular entertainment, taking them away from the economic troubles of the day. This play manages to provide that needed escape through laughter and through the familiar plot of a supposedly “normal” family meeting a family of eccentrics for the first time. But it also slyly asks questions about class and makes us ponder the value of the pursuit of wealth versus the pursuit of happiness. It’s a wonderful lesson in deploying the comfort of comedy to discuss real, uncomfortable issues, and many a dramatist is indebted to Kaufman and Hart for paving the way.
You Can’t Take It With You also puts on stage one of the most amazingly diverse arrays of characters ever seen. One does ballet for her Russian instructor, while another writes a play, two build fireworks in the basement, and yet more are invited to dinner and never seem to leave. Roundabout’s Associate Artistic Director Scott Ellis has gathered a bevy of wonderful actors ready to dig into these roles. I’m particularly happy that the center of the madness will be held down by the great James Earl Jones, playing patriarch Martin Vanderhof. Pairing one of our best dramatic actors with one of our best comedies is an exciting proposition, and I can’t wait for you to see this performance live.
I hope that you are as thrilled as I am about You Can’t Take It With You making its first return to Broadway in over 30 years. I am eager to hear your thoughts, and I encourage you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share them. This season, as ever, I truly enjoy receiving your feedback.
I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!
2014-2015 Season, From Todd Haimes, You Can't Take It With You