James Earl Jones will return to Broadway, to star in a revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy You Can’t Take It With You, starting in August.
You Can’t Take It with You is a comedic play in three acts by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. The original production of the play opened at the Booth Theater on December 14, 1936, and played for 838 performances. The play won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was adapted for the screen as You Can’t Take It With You, directed by Frank Capra, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.
At first the Sycamores seem mad, but it is not long before you realize that if they are mad, then the rest of the world is madder. In contrast to these delightful people are the unhappy Kirbys. Tony, the attractive young son of the Kirbys, falls in love with Alice Sycamore and brings his parents to dine at the Sycamore house on the wrong evening. The shock sustained by Mr. and Mrs. Kirby, who are invited to eat cheap food, shows Alice that marriage with Tony is out of the question. The Sycamores find it hard to understand Alice’s view. Tony knows the Sycamores live the right way with love and care for each other, while his own family is the one that’s crazy. In the end, Mr. Kirby is converted to the happy madness of the Sycamores after he happens in during a visit by the ex-Grand Duchess of Russia, Olga Katrina, who is currently earning her living as a waitress.
James Earl Jones, a two-time Tony Award winner for the Broadway productions of The Great White Hope and Fences, will play Martin Vanderhof, the patriarch of the Sycamore family – an eccentric old man who keeps snakes and has never paid his income tax.
The Sycamore family includes Penelope “Penny” Vanderhof Sycamore, Martin Vanderhof’s daughter, a writer of adventure- and sex-filled melodrama plays, who is married to Paul Sycamore, a tinkerer who manufactures fireworks in the basement. One of Paul and Penny’s two daughters is Essie Sycamore Carmichael, a childish candymaker who dreams of being a ballerina (but in reality is terrible at dancing). Essie is married to Ed Carmichael, a xylophone player who lives with them and helps distribute Essie’s candies. Paul and Penny’s other daughter Alice Sycamore is the only “normal” family member. She has an office job and is sometimes embarrassed by the eccentricities of her family, yet deep down, she still loves them. In addition, the Vanderhof/Sycamore/Carmichael clan employs a maid Rheba, who is dating Donald, who performs odd jobs for the Sycamores.
So one can only assume that there’ll be a number of roles for black actors in this play; though not necessarily entirely. Producer Jeffrey Richards said that the play would have a multiracial cast.
6-time Tony nominee Scott Ellis will direct the Broadway revival.