Solid performances hold true to theater program’s history of excellence

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By James Grant
Eagle Staff

The drama guild dazzled in their entertaining adaptation of the classic Broadway comedy, “You Can’t

Take It With You,” in the Moran Fine Arts Center in Cemo Auditorium last weekend.

“The play centers around the humorous story of the Sycamores, a weird eccentric family, and their

wacky adventures,” said Dan Green, director of the performance. “Things really get crazy when this

zany family collides with the very stiff, upper crust family of their daughters’ fiancé.”

“You Can’t Take It With You” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1937 and is considered one of the

most well-known Broadway comedies in 19th century America.

This well-loved classic is a hilarious family affair still shown today on Broadway in New York City and

led by James Earl Jones.

Taking the stage in the St. Thomas production were Will Wheeler as Grandpa Vanderhof, Olivia

Bergeron of Incarnate Word Academy as Penny Sycamore, Jack Rentz as Paul Sycamore, Ben Heller

as DePinna, Wayne Babineaux as Boris Kolenkhov, Montgomery Cloud as Tony Kirby and Pamela

Zambrano of Sr. Agnes Academy as Essie Carmichael.

“We all felt like the performances were very well-received,” junior Wayne Babineaux said. “The

audiences all laughed throughout the play and left the theater with smiles on their faces.”

“The first line for William Wheeler’s character, Martin Vanderhoft, sums up the opinion of every

audience member who saw the magnificent performance last weekend, ‘Well sir, you should have

been there. That’s all I can say…you should have been there’,” Green said.

“The show went off very well. Several freshmen actually seemed shocked that they could like

something as arcane as a play,” says Green. “William Wheeler led the cast but solid performances

were turned in by everyone.”

“In fact, [Theology teacher Chris] Wardwell said that in this play there were such strong

performances. Everyone did their parts so well,” Green adds. “I am very pleased. Comedy isn’t easy.

These students pulled off one of the best comedies America has ever produced, and they did it with

grace, wit, and a few crazy drunks and Russians.”

Algebra teacher Mary Cassaro, one of Green’s assistant directors, and Green witnessed the immediate

success of the show and the audience’s reception as well.

This three-act play gets a lot of laughs as it tells the story of these two very different families.

The play challenges the audience by making them think about the true separation and cultures of

social classes.

Maybe the most important aspect of the play is its ability to get the audience to reflect on what is

more important to them in life: the pursuit of wealth or the pursuit of happiness.

With a huge dose of humor, “You Can’t Take It With You” teaches an important lesson in life that is as

relevant today as it was when the play was written in the 1930s.

The fall performance ran October 17-19, but the behind the scenes preparations began long before.

Up until show time, the students had put in hard work memorizing and practicing their lines.

Their success could not have been possible if it was not for the dedication and guidance from their

mentors.

Led by Green, Rev. Jim Murphy, CSB., and Mary Cassaro, the drama and theater program continues

to impress and entertain audiences with Broadway-like performances, and for that they deserve a

standing ovation.

 

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James Grant is a senior at St. Thomas.

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