You Can't Take It with You

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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 837 performances. The play won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Contents

Characters

Plot synopsis

Overview

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.

Act One Scene One

The story takes place entirely in the large house of a slightly batty New York City family. Various characters in the lives of the Vanderhof/Sycamore/Carmichael clan are introduced in the first act.

The patriarch of the family, Grandpa Vanderhof, is an eccentric old man who keeps snakes and has never paid his income tax. Penelope "Penny" Vanderhof Sycamore is his daughter (a writer of adventure- and sex-filled melodrama plays), who is married to Paul Sycamore, a tinkerer who manufactures fireworks in the basement with the help of his assistant Mr. De Pinna who used to be the family's iceman. 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. Ed is an amateur printer who prints any phrase that sounds catchy. Paul and Penny's other daughter Alice Sycamore is quite obviously 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.

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