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'You Can't Take It With You' back at SAU

Still from the 1938 movie starring Jean Arthur, Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, and Edward Arnold.

March 2012

The first mainstage production in the SAU Theatre Department's 2012-13 season will be a special faculty/staff/student/alumni production of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's comedy "You Can't Take it With You." The show will be co-produced by the Curtainbox Theatre Company (owned and operated by SAU graduate Kim Kurtenbach Furness). The production will be held in Allaert Auditorium, September 7-9.

"You Can't Take it With You" was last produced at St. Ambrose in the mid 90s, from which there are two returning cast members: Father Tom Hennen '00 will be reprising his role as Mr. DePinna, and Scott Naumann '97 will again appear as Boris Kolenkhov.

Current students will get the chance to audition for the leading roles of the young lovers Alice and Tony. Auditions will be held during finals week this coming May. There is also an opportunity for students to get involved on the crew and see professionals at work. There is a required two-week rehearsal period starting August 22 and continuing through opening night September 7. All positions are unpaid. 

SAU graduate David Bonde '93 will be directing the production, and is extremely excited about the cast he is being given to work with. "Cory has stacked the deck so much that directing this almost feels like cheating," says Bonde. Another perk for him is being able to bring his kids to something he's worked on. "Most everything I direct is too ‘adult' for them."

But this production does not come without its challenges! Because the cast comes from all over, collaboration before the two-week production period becomes a bit of an issue; but Bonde has found a way around it. "We're using Google Docs to share ideas, coordinate our efforts, and even hold discussions about character development with actors," he says.

Perhaps a more stressful challenge comes with the amount of time the cast and crew will actually have to mount the show. There will only be a two-week period during which all members of the cast and crew are entirely together before they will be expected to put on a polished production. "We'll deal with the time issue by doing everything we can to be prepared before we even get to rehearsal," says Bonde. "For example, our set designer Aaron Hook, has already developed a couple of options for the set and we (assistant director Rachel Mayer-Ramirez ‘09 and I) will be doing pre-blocking in the month of March so that we can deliver an e-version of the script with blocking notes, cuts, and links to all the research I've done so far to the cast."

Half of the production proceeds are going to the Michael Kennedy Scholarship and the other half to The Curtainbox Theatre. The Curtainbox provides Ambrose students with many opportunities to get involved in a professional setting.

Please email Cory Johnson or call her office at 563-333-6427 to express your interest in this project.

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