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Ayers Hemphill and Charlie Tower as the upper-crust Wall Street tycoon and his wife.

WILLIAMSVILLE >> Having launched with sell-out performances of "Our Town" last August, the Rock River Players now present George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's "You Can't Take It with You" May 5 through 8 at the Williamsville Hall on Dover Road.

In its review of the 2014 Broadway revival of "You Can't Take It with You," the New York Times wrote, " A lot of shows can make you laugh. What's rare is a play that makes you beam from curtain to curtain. Such is the effect ... of Kaufman and Hart's 1936 comedy about one improbably happy family during the Great Depression. ...Its reputation trails adjectives that trigger gag reflexes: madcap, warm, life-affirming and "crazy," spoken with that special fondness reserved for tales of wholesome eccentricity. ...[N]aïveté is this show's oxygen and its strongest selling point, and Hart and Kaufman conjured it with master craftsmen's shrewdness. A portrait of tax-dodging, rule-defying, work-evading, good-hearted folk "You Can't Take It With You" is one of the most persuasive works of pure escapism in Broadway history.


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" With a "carpe diem" mantra, we see three generations living under one roof on the Upper West Side of Manhattan pursuing passions ranging from classical ballet to the manufacture of fireworks...." Everybody seems to exist in a sort of trance of ecstatic silliness, a state of punch-drunk, freewheeling looseness," the Times concludes.

The Rock River Players company features Stewart McDermet as Martin "Grandpa" Vanderhof, Debbi Reed-Savory as his daughter, Penelope Sycamore; Walter Corcoran as her explosive spouse, Paul. Sycamore daughters, Alice and Essie, are played by Kayla Williams and Cris-Parker Jennings whose puerile husband, Ed Carmichael, is played by Jeff Connor. Alice is sweet on Tony Kirby, played by Arik Clark, though the friction created when the Sycamores meet Tony's parents, the upper crust Anthony and Miriam Kirby—Charlie Tower and Ayers Hemphill--sparks inevitable laugh-aches. Miles Keefe plays the flamboyant Russian ballet master, Boris Kolenkov; Sara Vitale is the zaftig German maid qua critic, Rheba; Bill Lincoln is Sycamore's partner in fireworks manufacturing, Mr. DePinna; Susan O'Hara is both Henderson and the Grand Duchess Olga Katrina; Somara Zwick-Madalinski, Richard Foye and Tino Benson are the G-men; Abby Wicker is the delightfully elsewhere Gay Wellington and spunky young Lyra Maiello, is the nudgy little girl-next-door.

George Reed Savory is prompter and Bonnie Haug-Cramp heads the backstage crew on props, set, sound and lights with Rick King, Laurie Miner, and Pat Halloran. Annie Landenberger directs.

Performances are Thursday, May 5 at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. The venue is Williamsville Hall on Dover Road in Williamsville. For more information and to reserve in advance write verbatim@svcable.net.