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You Can't Take It with You: A Comedy in Three Acts Paperback – January, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Inc.; Acting Edition edition (January 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822212870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822212874
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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It's fun to read and even better to watch!
C. Rigby
As an actor in high school, I played the character of Mr. DePinna, and it was the best theater experience I've ever had.
Amazon Customer
In fact, the characters who only show up for one or two scenes are some of the most memorable.
Riley R

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
"You Can't Take It with You," by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, can be quickly described as a comedy about a madcap family. It is, however, beneath its very funny surface, a meditation on the problems of individuality, conformity, and the ways in which one decides to live one's life.
The plot concerns the Vanderhof clan, an extended family who all live in a large house situated somewhere near Columbia University. The house is owned by Grandpa Vanderhof, a man who left his life in commerce some years before and now spends his time collecting snakes, throwing darts, and attending college commencements. His daughter, Penny, writes plays on a typewriter which had been delivered to their home by mistake. Penny's husband is named Paul. Paul manufactures fireworks in the base ment with the help of Mr. DiPinna, a gentlemen who came to deliver something and has stayed on for seven years. Paul and Penny have found time to produce two daughters: Essie, who dances ballet to the xylophone accompaniment of her husband, Ed, and Alice, the sole "normal" member of the family.
Alice has become involved with the boss's son, and most of the plot revolves around the complications that arise from the son (Tony) bringing his parents to dinner at the Vanderhofs' one night before the dinner was actually scheduled.
The plot, however, is only a small part of what makes this comedy (which ran for more than 800 performances on Broadway in a time when 200 performances was considered a hit) an endlessly fascinating, always enjoyable event.
The characters are rich, often loopy, and even eminently sensible. Grandpa Vanderhof is a sage, and lines of his run through my head almost daily as little pieces of wisdom with which I make my way through life.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Just call me Alice on September 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
From this wacky family with pet snakes, fireworks, playwrites, and dancers: you learn to expect anything that doesn't make sence, but what you don't expect is them to make sence! That is exactally what happens. When Alice, daugher of Paul and Penny, tells them of the young man that is calling for her, they instantly accept him into the family. His family, however, is not so accepting.

My high school has just started preparing for our performance of this wonderful play. We have all fallen in love with the script and are eager to perform. This is a wonderful choice for any theater program, I am sure that anyone can find it entertaining!
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
As an actor in high school, I played the character of Mr. DePinna, and it was the best theater experience I've ever had. The play has enough mature themes to be taken seriously (unlike many other family life plays of the period), but it is also humorous enough to let the cast enjoy acting in it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joe R. Collier on August 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
A "screwball" comedy that is very well written and superbly crafted, a wonderful theater ensemble piece with action and interesting stage business pretty much constantly going on in every scene. It just percolates with fun from start to finish. It has wonderfully endearing characters and is very indicative of the 1930's America concerns and values. It informs the audience about those times, while teaching a wonderful message of tolerance and the benefits of diversity and individualism. The character of Grandpa espouses a philosophy that is both timely and timeless, and that would benefit all people at all times, if they would just adopt it as a way to live. It is simply to relax and enjoy life. Quit striving for the seemingly important, but actually unimportant things like money, position, unrewarding work for other people. Give up the prejudices and conventional negative assumptions about other people that actually make us unhappy. It seems odd, but is instructive to audiences of today, to know that the play was controversial when written and first produced.
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By KristenTag on April 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband is a high school theatre teacher and got this and others as potential plays for his school. It is a good script.
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By Riley R on September 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
I acted in this play last year and it was so incredibly fun and such an amazing experience. If you are in high school and looking for a play to do, I can't recommend this enough. The story follows the wacky Sycamores and the uptight Kirbys, and the way the two families clash. You may have heard of the movie version - however, in my opinion, the play is much better and I prefer the way the play deals with the themes.

There are some really, REALLY great characters here. I played Penny Sycamore in my production, and I've never enjoyed myself more. She has so many hilarious scenes (WORD GAME SCENE!) but I also found a lot of depth to her character when I started to really learn the lines. Basically every character in this play is an opportunity for the actor to get some big laughs. In fact, the characters who only show up for one or two scenes are some of the most memorable.

The relationships between family members are what really makes the show. Once you figure out how the Sycamore family works, how the Kirby family works, and how these two families are different, the rest of it comes a lot easier.

Also, this play is great if you are doing the show on a budget! My school is very new and our performing space is a cafetorium... luckily for us, there is only one set in the entire show! It's the interior of the Sycamore house, so you can go wild with how much you want to include. The main thing is to make it looked "lived-in." We had fun using some large stuffed-animal snakes, plus we were able to bring in a real typewriter! So this show can basically be done on a budget of absolutely nothing (except performance fees), with cast/crew volunteering to bring in a few props each.

In short, if you're looking for a play to perform, YCTIWY is a great choice. I still find myself thinking of it and I think I'll remember the fun of the production for a very long time.
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