Moffat County High School drama to perform ‘You Can’t Take It with You’ | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County High School drama to perform ‘You Can’t Take It with You’

Classic American comedy has performances Thursday, Friday, Saturday

When you live in a household that includes a snake handler, a fireworks manufacturer, and a confectionary specialist who wants to be a ballerina, "normal" is a relative term to say the least.

Such is the family that makes up the clan at the center of "You Can't Take It with You," the latest theatrical production from the Moffat County High School drama department, which opens Thursday night.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart that also became an Oscar-winning film and recently ended a revival on Broadway is one that everyone can appreciate, said director Jerry RunnerSmith.

"It's kind of the original sitcom," he said, adding that it's among the most frequent plays performed by high school students across the nation.

The story is about a 1930s New York family that includes eccentric patriarch Martin Vanderhof (Zach Hendershot), a lover of reptiles and legendary income tax dodger who isn't about to pay up to the government anytime soon.

Hendershot said he couldn't resist the chance to play the wily Vanderhof, known to most simply as Grandpa.

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"I love this show, and in particular, Grandpa really resonates with me, I love his outlook on life, carefree and easygoing," he said.

Also within the hectic household are Grandpa's would-be writer daughter, Penny Sycamore (Kyla Pogline); her husband, Paul (Jeremy Looper), a man who's either playing with gunpowder or children's toys; and many more quirky characters. Penny and Paul's daughter, Alice (Stephanie Duarte), is the least peculiar of this bunch and therefore can't help but be embarrassed as she brings home a wealthy, sophisticated suitor, Tony (Jake Stewart).

Hijinks of the highest order ensue as Alice and Tony's families are brought together, and in order to pull off the kind of comedy the show requires, RunnerSmith knew he'd need just the right set of talents.

"I saw the quality of stuff that they could do, and they've got a fine tradition here, we're just trying to carry it on," he said.

Like any set of rehearsals leading up to a performance, it can be hard to tell what chaos is part of the action and what is still being worked out as the cast works its way toward perfection, especially in the definitive conclusion to the second act.

There can be some frustrations as actors continue to adapt to lighting cues, costumes and props — RunnerSmith reminds them while watching from the house, "What would your character do?" — but such is the pandemonium in any production's final week before curtain.

Stewart, an MCHS junior, has seen it all before in the often tense final days of preparation, but he remains confident that a solid show is coming out of it all, overseen by RunnerSmith and Melinda Hall.

"Everybody's learning, but like everything else, it will pull through," he said.

Though most of the cast members are MCHS students, adults Hendershot and Randy Looper also figure into the action.

Surrounded by younger actors, Hendershot enjoys watching them become greater thespians.

"It's great to see them on this learning experience and figuring out how to do this thing we call theater and make the magic onstage," he said.

While some have many plays or musicals under their belt, others are complete novices.

Home school student Glenden Reuer is trodding the boards for the first time ever as Tony's father, a stuffy Wall Street mogul.

"The character kind of fits me well because I like to dress in fancy clothes, and I'm just getting into stocks and bonds," he said.

So far, it's been very memorable, if at times, exhausting.

"I didn't know there was so much that went into this," Reuer said. "It's hard work, and I didn't think it would be this difficult, but everybody doing their part is really important. I know these shows are always a big deal, and it's exciting to be a part of it."

The payoff will be not only his time in the spotlight but also the memories he'll have with the video recording of the show that the cast will be able to keep.

Ironically, the title refers to Reuer's character being told his money will do him no good if he works himself to an early grave, but maybe one really can take "it" with them if it's just a small keepsake.

"It's going to be really cool to put that DVD on my shelf," Reuer smiled.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

If you go

You Can’t Take It with You

7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday

Moffat County High School auditorium, 900 Finley Lane

— Tickets are $5 per person. For more information on the show, call 970-824-7036.

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