You Can't Take It with You

Frank Capra made a movie out of it starring James Stewart back in the 1930s that to this day has a 96 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So it's hard to argue with the Alley Theatre's Artistic Director, Gregory Boyd, who decided there was no better way to start the 2013-14 Alley season than with the stage version of You Can't Take It with You.

A perfect ensemble vehicle for the Alley's resident cast (along with some out-of-towners making appearances — it calls for a large cast), this is the Moss Hart-George Kaufman creation that won the Pulitzer Prize. It's the story of Alice Sycamore and her eccentric family meeting her fiancé's much more conservative relatives. Sanford Robbins (November) is directing, with Emily Neves playing Alice and Josie de Guzman as mom and James Black as grandpa. Jeffrey Bean plays the ice cream man who, for some reason, came in one day and is still there eight years later. And Jay Sullivan plays Tony Kirby, Alice's love interest.

Naturally, the course of true love doesn't run smoothly; the lovers' desires are thwarted by different values (''individual self-expression and making money and being successful,'' Robbins says), and there's the usual mix-up before the families eventually find a resolution. ''There is a conflict but there's no villain in this play,'' Robbins says. The family-friendly play is convoluted and fun, so be prepared to just go with it.

7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Through October 20. 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit $26 to $80.
Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Sept. 20. Continues through Oct. 20, 2013

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing