Spring play takes center stage

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Annie Brown

Homestead’s spring play You Can’t Take it With You featured an ensemble cast that included several seniors. Photo by Annie Brown

A wacky family. A dinner with the in-laws. Income tax evasion. All the right ingredients in a recipe for chaos. Homestead’s spring play, You Can’t Take It With You has been in the works since February, and the ensemble comedy took center stage from April 23rd to the 26th.

The play follows the Sycamore family, one comprised of firework makers, painters, dancers, and snake collectors alike as they navigate meeting the esteemed parents of their daughter’s boyfriend.

The show looked a little different than the winter musical, as family and friends were be able to attend performances in person. “We are doing everything totally live and in order; the full two hour performance. So it’s definitely more of a stamina challenge compared to ‘Little Women,’” said Lizzie Wilkerson, senior, who plays Essie.

“[Essie] is the eldest daughter of the Sycamore family… she’s been studying ballet for eight years, and is not very good at it,” Wilkerson said with a chuckle. “Her two hobbies are making candy that she just gives away, and dancing poorly,” she continued.

While Wilkerson found many similarities between her and Essie, Julia Rowe, senior, found herself to be different from Alice Sycamore: the character she plays.

“She’s less optimistic than I am. She lets some of the little things get her down and doesn’t always think everything will work out in the end. I tend to have a more positive outlook on things and think the best of situations,” Rowe said.

The two seniors looked back on their time with the theatre department as they know their time with it is coming to a bittersweet end all too soon. “It feels like home,” Rowe said. She continued to leave a piece of advice for the incoming seniors:

“Don’t spend your times together being sad that it’s the last time, instead just enjoy your time with the people you’ve been creating with for so long.”

Although the curtains on the seniors’ time with the theatre department are closing, Luke Koenig, freshman’s are opening.

He did not step into his leading role as Tony Kirby without doubts in mind.

“Originally, I wasn’t exactly sure as to how the older, more experienced actors and actresses would treat me, but it was like I never left the stage. There were all so kind and accepting, and that chemistry really makes this show work,” Koenig said.

He, along with Ben Usatinsky, had difficulty identifying the differences between themselves and the characters they play. Usatinsky was, however, quick to acknowledge his love for the show and all its cast members.

As he reflected on his time with the seniors, Usatinsky had a hard time putting their contribution into words.

As his cast mates joked around him, saying he will miss the attention they give him, Usatinsky said seriously, “I genuinely will miss them so much… I will miss all of the inside jokes, and I will miss… the aura that they created. I don’t know how I will take the reigns.”

The cast of the play could not wait for audiences to experience the show live. “This show has timeless humor that will make everyone laugh” said Koenig.

After Usatinsky teased that he alone should be the reason audiences see the show, he made it clear that this is a show for all ages. He continued, “It’s a really good show. I genuinely think the acting in this show is some of the best acting in any Homestead production… I think it’s really funny but simultaneously it’s very very wholesome.”

It was for that reason that Amelia Figg-Franzoi, theater teacher and director of the show, chose “You Can’t Take It With You” for the theatre department to produce.

Additionally, she loved the show because it, “made [her] laugh hysterically the first time [she] saw it” and it, “really stuck.”

Along with the bright comedic nature of the play stood the intricate set. “I based it off of the Broadway revival,” Figg-Franzoi said. “We painted it, we put it all together… it all just came together magically. We took a bunch of things from my office, my house, and the prop room to decorate the set with.”

Whether it be sharing a moment of connection through pre-show speeches or partaking in Usatinsky’s tradition of, “singing ‘I Like Big Butts’” before rehearsal, there is no doubt that the theatre department at Homestead had fun putting together their spring play.

Rowe said, “Every show is different, but each and every group of people I work with are some of the most dedicated, hardworking individuals I know. [The play] is so different than any other show we’ve done in my time at Homestead. It is beautifully heartwarming and hilarious, and ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ beautifully showcases the meaning of family and relationships during your time with each other.”

In a word, she described being a part of this show as “Fulfilling.”

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