BOTTINEAU -- George S. Kaufman and Moss Mart wrote "You Can't Take It With You" for the Broadway stage in 1936, but neither the zany characters nor sprightly dialogue have aged, director Tim Davis said.
Davis should know: He has been involved with the three-act classic comedy several times, including once acting the role of Grandfather Vanderhof and directing "You Can't Take It With You" four times. The play was the choice for the Bottineau Community Theater in 1976 and at Bottineau High School in 1987 and 1993.
He is delighted to reprise it with the Bottineau group tonight through Sunday at Holwell Auditorium in Bottineau. Performances begin at 7:30 tonight through Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Submitted Photo - - From left: Paul Schuster as Mr. Kolenkov, Margie Borkowski as Mrs. Kerby, Kerry Olson as Penny Sycamore, Jim Borkowski as Paul Sycamore, Sarah Williamson as Alice Sycamore, and Swain Benson as Tony Kerby gather around Rod Schmidt as Mr. Kerby, seated, in the Bottineau Community Theater production of “You Can’t Take It With You.”
Submitted Photo - - Kim Schoenborn as Essie, Luther Olson as Ed, and Allen Johnson as a government agent in the Bottineau Community Theater production of “You Can’t Take It With You.”
Submitted Photo - - Rod Schmidt as Mr. Kerby, left, and Gary Wendel as Grandpa Vanderhof in the Bottineau Community Theater production of “You Can’t Take It With You.”
"This year we left the setting for the play in New York City in the 1930s, as it was in the original," Davis said. "It is set in the large, old home of Martin Vanderhof, played by Gary Wendel, the patriarch of a family of delightful lunatics."
Vanderhof's family, who all share the home with him, include his married daughters, Penny Sycamore, played by Kerry Olson, and her husband Paul, played by Jim Borkowski, and Vanderhof's daughter Essie, played by Kim Schoenborn, and her husband Ed, played by Luther Olson.
Penny, also a painter, is also a playwright who never finishes anything.
Essie, who studies ballet, also makes and sells candy, which Paul delivers. He also manufactures fireworks in the basement. Essie and Paul have a printing press and a snake solarium in the house.
The Vanderhof household includes the live-in cook Rheba, played by Deb Nelson, and her boyfriend, Donald, portrayed by Jeremy Dissette.
Then there is Mr. DePinne, the milkman who made a delivery eight years ago and hasn't left yet. Keith Pritchard plays DePinne.
Add the other folks who drop by: Boris, Essie's ballet teacher, performed by Paul Schuster, and the Grand Duchess Olga Katrina, portrayed by Lori Erickson.
"There are normal people in the play, too," Davis assured play-goers. "Alice Sycamore, played by Sarah Williamson, is a secretary. She is the daughter of Penny and Paul. Her boss, Tony Kerby, played by Swain Benson, has fallen in love with her. Now that they are engaged, Tony thinks her family should meet his parents, Anthony Kerby Sr., played by Rodney Schmidt, and Mrs. Kerby, played by Margie Borkowski."
The stuffy, self-important senior Kerbys, invited to a get-acquainted dinner, arrive a night early. Also dropping by are government agents, an FBI trio played by Allen Johnson, Nicole Bunn and Tia Farnsworth, and an IRS agent, Henderson, played by Kainz.
After meeting the senior Kerbys, Vanderhof tells Anthony Kerby money is unimportant because, "You can't take it with you."
The classic confrontation between a wealthy family and one unimpressed by money guarantees a night of comedy for audiences of this good-humored play, Davis said.
"Bottineau Community theater was missing instrumental talent to do a musical this winter," Davis said, "so we wanted a big play, and this classic fit the bill. We have 19 actors playing 19 roles."
He noted "You Can't Take It With You" is also returning to Broadway next year.
The director praised the work of set designers Richard Gross and Dwight Olson, costumer Glenore Gross, lighting director Paul Olson and ElRita Nelson who handles make-up.
Tickets, $10 for adults and $5 for students, will be available at the door. Reservations are not required.