I saw this show on Broadway on 1/8. But first, let me give you what I hope you will find is an amusing curtain raiser. Richard and I looked through our calendars on the subway that morning, finding a few available dates for two shows, *The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime* and *On the Twentieth Century*. I left work right at 5 and had a 7:00 curtain for the show. I was in a bit of a flurry - - I had to walk from 68th and York to 63rd and Lexington, get on the F train, ride it three stops to 42nd Street, walk 1.5 blocks to the American Airlines Theater on 42nd Street to buy tickets for *20th Century*, then up to 47th Street to the *Curious Dog* box office, then to 48th Street to pick up the ticket for the show I was seeing, then eat dinner, and see the show. I left work, got one block away and went into a panic because I didn’t know where I had the little slip of paper that had all the dates that Richard and I discussed for these two shows. It wasn’t in my wallet, it wasn’t in my pants pocket. I started walking back to work, thought I must have left it on my desk. But then I had a flash - - it was in my shirt pocket. Whew. But that flurry of doubt made me feel like I was behind. I walked a little faster.
I got to the F train, didn’t have to wait too long. Got the tickets at 42nd Street, then up to 47th, then 48th, then went over to a Subway sandwich shop on 8th Avenue at 47th. I was a little bothered that they don’t have a clock - - I don’t wear a watch, and don’t have a cell phone, so I’m at the mercy of clocks on the wall, if I want to know what time it is. I ordered my sandwich and hurriedly checked the time on my receipt. It was 5:48. Sometimes I move so fast, it scares me.
*You Can’t Take It With You* is a play from 1936, written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. I’ve heard that it’s performed constantly in high schools, but somehow I’ve never seen it. I got a cheap ticket for the current Broadway production, Richard saw it and loved it, so why not. The play is about an eccentric family living outside of New York City. The elder daughter, the sweet young thing, has fallen in love with her boss. The play is about her trying to prevent him, and later his parents, from learning about just how strange the members of her family are.
I enjoyed it so much, it was darling, such a well-made play. A comedy should do two things: it should make you laugh and it should make you smile. Julie Halston was the leader of the pack when it comes to laughing. She is one of the funniest women on earth. I’ve seen her in quite a few Charles Busch plays (she’s Ethel Mertz to his Lucy Ricardo), and she is a shameless mugger. Uproariously funny. Reg Rogers was also wonderful, as the Russian dance teacher. The biggest discovery of the play was Annaleigh Ashford as the leading girl’s sister, the ballerina. She spends the whole play emoting and dancing around on point while talking about what they’re having for dinner, or where she might have put that piece of mail for Grandpa. She was a riot.
The most smiles of the show were produced by James Earl Jones as Grandpa. He has a warm, easy grace. His dinnertime prayers at the end of the first act and the end of the show both got me teary. It was sweet. Close behind him in the smiles department were the young couple, played by Anna Chlumsky and Fran Kranz. I know Anna Chlumsky from *Hannibal*, she was adorable. I kept looking at Fran Kranz, trying to figure out what I knew him from. I checked his bio in the program, and he played the stoner dude in *The Cabin in the Woods*! This is a very different role, and he was darling. Elizabeth Ashley had a star cameo as the Grand Duchess Olga of Russia - - I think her role was supposed to be laugh-inducing, but it was merely smile-inducing. Which isn’t so bad.
Kristine Nielsen played the mother, and produced both laughs and smiles in equal measure. She was greatly aided by two kittens in the first scene. They weren’t onstage for long, but they got the audience to go “Aw.,..”, which is all they need to do, right?
One other highlight of the show - - I saw Sally Field downstairs during the intermission. I would have grabbed her for one minute and told her what a fan I am of *Gidget*, but she was making a bee line for the ladies’ room.