Shaler Area students gear up for 'You Can't Take it With You'

| Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 10:17 p.m.

While the on-stage antics of the Sycamore family may appear erratic, Shaler Area High School students have worked for months to present a well-choreographed comedy in this year's fall production.

The high school's fall play, “You Can't Take It with You,” is a 1937 Pulitzer Prize-winning comedic play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

The script follows the Sycamore family, an eccentric and diverse family, whose members follow the lead of family patriarch Martin Vanderhof, better known in the play as Grandpa.

Grandpa lives his life by only doing what he enjoys and not doing what he doesn't enjoy. His example leads to a family with hobbies that include building fireworks, playing the xylophone and dancing.

While the antics and puns of the Sycamore family enhance the play's comedic moments, the play takes an unlikely turn when Alice Sycamore, the most traditional member of the family, becomes engaged to Tony Kirby and his conservative and proper family comes to the Sycamore house for dinner.

“The title ‘You Can't Take It with You,' that line is made in the play,” said Collin Ziegler, a senior, who plays Grandpa. “You need to be happy with this life … and do what you love because you can't take it with you.

“It's a good message. It's one the whole family can come and enjoy.”

The play opens on Friday, Nov. 30, at the Shaler Area High School auditorium.

The cast of 19 includes freshmen to senior students who have worked together since the beginning of the school year to perfect their characters.

“Throughout all the practices, we've all been together for hours and days and have become more like a real family,” said Roslyn Mizgorski, a sophomore, who plays Alice Sycamore.

High school English teacher Kristen Susany, who is co-directing the play with fellow teacher Anne Loudon, said the students make up a “dedicated and hard-working” cast who have been working on developing their characters and comedic timing.

“They are constantly laughing,” Susany said. “They really embraced their characters. They kind of made it their own.”

Kelly Wall, a sophomore, said the students' dedication will show when the curtain rises.

“It's excellent. We're high school students putting on an adult production,” said Wall, who plays one of Vanderhof's granddaughters.

Wall portrays the ballerina-in-training Essie Carmichael who, even though she has been studying dance for eight years, she still looks like “wet noodle on stage half the time,” said Wall with a laugh.

“We come here every day after school and do this because we love it,” she said.

“I think we all just want to put on a really good show ... and (we're) hoping for a great turnout.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or

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