You Can't Take It With You

By Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman

Directed by John Kibler
October 18 to November 3, 20133

Read the Reviews:
Waukesha Freeman, WaukeshaNOW

Click on a photo to see a larger image

Photos By Kimberly Fudali

Volunteer of the Production

Dan Hargarten

Sponsored In Part By

WCT projects are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.


Kerry Birmingham

Henderson / G-Man

David Boxhorn

Mr. Kirby

Dana Brzezinski


Marilou Davido


Donna Daniels


Ricardo DeHerrera


Colleen Glatzel


Dan Hargarten


Tod Herdt


James Katzenmeyer


Jim Mallmann


Mina Miller

Mrs. Kirby

Mark Neufang


Hannah Snyder


Antoinette Stikl


Deanna Strasse


Production Staff 

Director / Properties Designer

John Kibler

Stage Manager

Pam Seccombe

Scenic Designer / Master Carpenter

A.J. Simon

Costume Designer

Nikki Maritch

Co- Lighting and Sound Designers

Scott Fudali and Keith Handy

Wig Master

Anthony Mackie

Run Crew

Cindy Velcheck

Set Construction Crew

Phillip Alonge
Jim Mallmann
Brian Morin
Clifford Meyer
Michael Talaska

Civic Theatre unearths jewel from year ago

By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic
October 24, 2013

WAUKESHA - The Waukesha Civic Theater has unearthed an old chestnut and polished it up for our enjoyment.

Kaufman and Hart’s “You Can’t Take It With You” still has something to say about family, loyalty and individuality to modern audiences. Though the dialogue is a bit dated, the message is relevant; the characters, though somewhat inflated, are amusing and recognizable, and the overall effect is charming.

Director John Kibler has taken poetic license by casting two key roles as women. Instead of Grandpa Vanderhof, we have Grandma, and instead of Mr. DePinna, we have Miss. Neither switch drastically affects the character of the roles, though having a female devising firecrackers and rockets strains our credulity a bit.

We all yearn to be individuals and follow our dreams but often are afraid that we will be judged too harshly by society if our dreams are too far off the norm. We all have family members who are considered odd. We all have our own philosophy about money and how it figures into the equation for happiness. These are some of the themes explored in this comedy.

But the characters are more important than the themes. Here is a cast of fascinating individuals, all pursuing their interests and fancies.

The central character in the Sycamore household is Grandma (Nana) Vanderhof, the rock of wisdom and stability. Her pursuit of living her life on her own terms permeates the entire family. Her daughter Penny writes plays, her son-in-law builds explosives in the basement with Miss DePinna, a stray who wandered in and stayed. Granddaughter Essie works at becoming a ballet dancer as her boyfriend Ed prints fliers and plays the xylophone. Cook Rheba and her husband Don, who is on the dole, provide cheerful services to the family.

Granddaughter Alice, the only person in the house who is gainfully employed, meets her boss’ son Tony on her job, which provides the culture clash that ensues. Various other characters come and go, offering their unique perspectives. All is amazingly harmonious in this household despite the potpourri of persons who share the same space. That is, until the Kirbys meet the Vanderhof’s, via the romance between Alice and Tony.

The standouts in a very large cast include Antoinette Stikl as the matriarch Nana; Donna Daniels as Penny, the aspiring playwright; David Boxhorn and Mina Miller as the stuffy Mr. and Mrs. Kirby; Mark Neufang as Tony, the earnest suitor; and Ricardo DeHerrera as Kolenkhov, the bombastic Russian.

The set design by A.J. Simon was reflective of the 1930s; costume design by Nikki Maritch was authentic; and the overall direction by John Kibler competent. The lighting and sound designers, Scott Fudali and Keith Handy, also enhanced the mood with their special effects and chosen tunes between acts.

You’re in for some humor and some food for thought regarding priorities in this one.

Review Title

By Reviewer Name
Posted: Month 16, 2012

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Waukesha Civic Theatre adds nicely to Kaufman-Hart classic

By Tom Jozwik - WaukeshaNOW Theater Critic
Oct. 23, 2013

"That was awesome!" a kid sitting behind me blurted out during the Oct. 17 dress rehearsal of "You Can't Take It With You" at the Waukesha Civic Theatre.

The youngster was commenting on a simulated explosion of fireworks, for which lighting and sound co-designers Scott Fudali and Keith Handy deserve at least some of the credit. The comment was on-target, for the faux fireworks display was rather a magical moment.

George S. Kaufmann and Moss Hart's venerable comedy and director John Kibler's WCT rendition of same are magical enough, if not exactly "awesome." (How many plays, even professional productions, actually reach the level of that inflated adjective?) Typical of WCT, the acting is solid and the set (A.J. Simon's work) attractive in "You Can't Take It With You."

Kibler has made some clever choices in helming his first Waukesha production. The play opens with a character typing (not word-processing; this is the 1930s, after all) and Kibler has Leroy Anderson's "The Typewriter" playing simultaneously. Moreover, the main Kaufmann/Hart character, Grandpa Vanderhof, has become Nana Vanderhof (played, with just the right combination of control and compassion, by Antoinette Stikl). For good measure, fireworks connoisseur Mr. De Pinna is Miss De Pinna in the WCT version. Kibler has the curtain open and close occasionally, something seen less and less often on stages nowadays (it works just fine here) and introduces various scenes with excerpts from various period recordings ("Begin the Beguine," for one).

"You Can't Take It With You" is very much an ensemble play, an excellent vehicle for providing meaty yet manageable roles for a slew of actors. Nana's extended clan includes her daughter and son-in-law; two granddaughters and a grandson-in-law; Miss De Pinna, who came to the house years ago to make a delivery and never left; a maid and her boyfriend; and a bombastic Russian ballet teacher who makes the Vanderhof place his home away from home.

The first paragraph of the playwrights' first stage direction summarizes the play's idea and action by describing activities in the Vanderhof living room: " …. Here meals are eaten, plays are written, snakes collected, ballet steps practiced, xylophones played, printing presses operated—if there were room enough there would probably be ice skating. In short, the brood … goes on about the business of living in the fullest sense of the word. This is a house where you do as you like, and no questions asked."

As the play progresses, the younger of Nana's granddaughters emerges as the sane one in the family and becomes engaged to a kindly co-worker—who gets a big kick out of the nutty clan. The new fiance's upper-crust parents show up unexpectedly (and are taken aback). Also arriving at one time or another are an IRS agent (Nana hasn't felt the need to pay taxes for a long, long time; "What do I get for my money?" she wonders), an oafish pair of G-Men and an incredibly intoxicated actress.

After 75 years, the play remains capable of eliciting laughter—even if a few of its references are likely to be lost on anybody shy of, say, 45. A few lines were fumbled—not enough to cause much concern at a community theater company's dress rehearsal. Dialogue was delivered clearly and facial expressions of Colleen Glatzel as Miss De Pinna, and David Boxhorn and Mina Miller as stuffy Mr. and Mrs. Kirby were pictures worth 1,000 words. Donna Daniels and Dan Hargarten merit special mention for first-rate turns as Nana's playwright daughter and pyrotechnics-obsessed son-in-law, as does Mark Neufang for his utterly likable husband-to-be, Tony Kirby.

In fact, every actor was satisfactory; none seemed miscast. And they tended to engage in appropriate stage business, to their and Kibler's credit, when it was another character's turn to speak. If the Vanderhof patriarch (er, matriarch) is the star of the show, there are many worthy co-stars in the galaxy currently on display at WCT.

Student Discount is available for children and any patron who is able to display a current student ID. Senior discount applies to all patrons 60 years or older.

For our "Pay What You Can" performances, patrons can buy tickets for that show on the day of the performance at whatever price their budget will allow.

Subscriber Discount is available to any subscriber for unlimited additional tickets outside their package.

10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Educational Group Rate is only available for all educational groups and Boy and Girl Scout troops. 10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Volunteer of the Production - Dan Hargarten

Dan, a previous recipient of this recognition, is always a pure joy to work with! He is encouraging, supportive, and always has the most amazing attitude. He contributes his warmth and jovial personality to every aspect of the show, from rehearsals to performances and everything in between. Thank you, Dan, and congratulations!