Theatre Information

Wentzville Holt High School You Can’t Take It With You

By • Mar 12th, 2012 • Category: Cappies, Missouri

Stuff snakes, Beethoven ballet and gun powder under the same roof and you will have the Sycamore family of You Can’t Take It With You, more than happy to have you over for an unexpected night of laughter and love-dreams at Wentzville Holt High School.

You Can’t Take It With You could very well be considered the poster play for “old school” drama. Premiering in 1936, George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s creation features the Sycamores, a fictional family living in the home of Martin Vanderhof, otherwise referred to as Grandpa. Throughout the story the Sycamore clan is revealed as a quirky bunch, which causes complications for Alice Sycamore who is engaged to Tony Kirby, son of an uptight fellow on Wall Street.

As the story progresses, presenting the classic themes of family and love, Holt’s production team makes all the proper connections. Admittedly, there were times where potentially heartwarming or hilarious moments were underplayed. Yet, overall the production ran smoothly and effectively with few technical distractions or noticeable character errors.

Leading the cast was Brenden Schaeffer, playing Grandpa. Schaeffer delivered lines clearly and overall believably. His natural stage presence helped keep the family and supporting roles more believable. It is often difficult for high school actors to assume such an aged role, yet Schaeffer played it off rather well!

Other notable characters, such as Emily Hampton and Andrew Milhous as Essie and Ed Carmichael, added a comedic factor to the show as well as the warm fuzzy feeling You Can’t Take It With You is known for. Hampton and Milhous really shined as the two most whimsical characters on stage and often pushed energy through slow expository chunks of the show. The dedication of Hampton and Milhous (as well as the rest of the cast) was clear through the endurance of energy, tricky accents and special tasks such as Essie’s constant ballet and Ed playing a bell kit throughout the play.

High school level theaters are often known for messy technical work, however Holt seems to be a lucky exception. Although You Can’t Take It With You is not an excruciatingly demanding show for techies, the technical aspects of the show were clear and effective. Lighting (Keegan Harper, Anna Weeden) and sound (Parker Gleason, Christina Richardson, Kyle Nanney, Travis Fleming) were sufficient — there was never a time where an actor wasn’t heard or character was unseen due to poor execution. Costumes (Riley Grady, Allie Hult, Allie Sanderson, Maitland Wells), hair and makeup (Hannah Michaelfree, Kaitlyn Bishop, Karley Cavanaugh, Madison Miller) were excellent for a high school level theater, very clearly depicting the 1930s feel through makeup choice and time-period-appropriate clothing. Essie’s ballet tutu, made by a student, was especially impressive!

Just like any family, the production team at Holt was not perfect, but it was just as functional as any other family. And even though You Can’t Take It With You, one’s evening at Holt High School is sure to be lovely.

by Megan Horn of Francis Howell High School

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