October 16, 2014 10:30AM
Pittsburg State University Theatre performed its final production in Pittsburg’s historic Memorial Auditorium Oct. 23-25. Cynthia Allan, chair of the Department of Communication, directed “You Can’t Take it With You,” one of the most popular and enduring of all American comedies.
Allan said that although PSU Theatre is excited about the opening of PSU’s Bicknell Family Center for the Arts in December, staging the final production in Memorial Auditorium was a little bittersweet.
“We’ve enjoyed a wonderful working relationship with all the staff at Memorial Auditorium and consider them friends and colleagues,” said Allan, “I wanted to make sure we went out with a bang.”
According to Allan, “You Can’t Take it With You,” written during the Great Depression, has endured the test of time in part because of its uniquely American character. The play has enjoyed four Broadway revivals, including a newly opened version this fall starring James Earl Jones.
Written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, the play follows the multi-generational antics of the eccentric Sycamore family in 1936 New York. Not only do the Sycamores lead a free-spirited life, they also attract an odd assortment of friends and house guests.
The family believes in living life to the fullest and spends their days playing xylophones, dancing, catching snakes, making fireworks and writing plays, but their youngest daughter, Alice, yearns for a more traditional life. She grudgingly agrees to invite her fiancé’s parents, the Wall-Street Kirbys, to dinner, but chaos ensues when the Kirbys arrive on the wrong night.
The cast was a large and diverse group of both well-known and new faces to Pitt State Theatre. Austin VanBeceleare (Grandpa), Taylor Elliott (Penny), Megan Reed (Grand Duchess Olga Katrina), Logan Qualls (Ed), along with newcomers Carly Hyer (Essie), Jamera Allen (Rheba), Hayley Higgins (Alice), and Mason Bayliss (Mr.Kirby) joined PSU faculty Josh Letner (Kolenkhov) and Leo Hudson (Donald) and additional cast members Kevin McNay (Paul), Lawrence Burry (Mr. DiPinna), Jeremiah Jones (Tony), Lindsey Lockhart (Mrs. Kirby), Sam Hardy (Henderson/G-mMan), Ila Phelps (Gay Wellington), Ryan Urban (G-Man), and Joshua Lindsey (G-man) to make up the ensemble. Joey Pogue served as designer/technical director and Lisa Quinteros was costume designer.