WCSU’s “You Can’t Take It With You”

Behind-the-scenes, the Wardrobe Crew of the WCSU Department of Theatre’s production of You Can’t Take It With You work diligently to help transport audiences into another time. You Can’t Take It With You premiered Wednesday, February 25, in the MainStage Theatre in VPAC on the Westside of campus.

 You Can’t Take It With You would not be possible without the work of the Wardrobe Crew, a group of young ladies who work diligently without the reward of applause at the end of the show. After the curtain drops, their reward is laundry. And laundry is only one aspect of the work that these ladies put in. The Wardrobe Crew maintains the costumes, designed by Irene Hatch Thelen, a designer of many Off-Broadway productions, throughout the run of the show, from making alterations long before opening night, to mending holes or other mishaps during and after the show. They help prepare the actors by getting them into costume and stay throughout the show, silent and unseen backstage, in case of any costume emergencies.

Working on the Wardrobe Crew is part of a core class for all theatre majors, Theatre 300: Theatre Production Lab. This course assigns each student to a crew regarding a technical aspect of theatre allowing the productions to be elaborately built and the students to gain experience in all aspects of theatre. Crews include: Costumes, Lighting, Set, Props, Sound, Box Office, and Paint. Jennifer Wilson, a freshman Musical Theatre major from West Haven, talked about her experience working on You Can’t Take It With You’s Wardrobe Crew. She stated, “It’s great! It’s helpful to learn other aspects of being in a production other than just being on stage. And being backstage helping with changes, it’s fun.” This experience is also a great learning experience for the students. Sophomore Musical Theatre student and Head of Hair and Makeup for this production Alex Allyn affirmed, “It’s been super cool. I wasn’t around in the thirties so I don’t know what they looked like, but I adapted. Always adapt, I’m an actor. So, I ‘Googled’ a lot of fingerwaves and how to do it and I tried out like sixteen different methods on my friends, I owe them a lot because I did it, and I finally found out a method that works. And its just been a process because you don’t know what they are supposed to be wearing, but you just have to do all your research, and executing it is a completely different thing and I will probably get it right by the time the show ends.”

You Can’t Take It With You follows the love story of Alice Sycamore and Tony Kirby and the wild events that happen when the eccentric Sycamore Family and the straight-laced Kirby Family collide. Life, laughter, love, fireworks, and kittens keep you thoroughly entertained, while the prominent questions about class and the pursuit of happiness versus the pursuit of wealth warm your heart and resonate in your mind.

You Can’t Take It With You was guest directed by John Hickok. He is a professional actor and director from Broadway productions such as Little Women, Aida, and Parade. With more than 30 years of experience, John Hickok has directed both nationwide and internationally, the premiere of Olivier Award winning Burning Blue in London.

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