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Performing Arts

WCT gears up for 'You Can't Take It With You'
American classic gets a more feminine twist

By JODY MAYERS - Special to TimeOut

October 17, 2013


WAUKESHA - John Kibler, director of the upcoming production of “You Can’t Take it With You” at Waukesha Civic Theatre said the show is a gift of laughter, joy and absolute mayhem for any audience.  

“Our production provides all (of) those things in the intimate setting of the Waukesha Civic Theatre filled with strong local actors and top-notch technical staff,” he said.  “It’s been an absolute pleasure to be introduced to this extended family of theatrical people in a place that has supported the local theatre scene for 57 years.”

The show opens Friday evening and runs weekends through Nov. 3, and Kibler, who only recently moved to Madison from a 25-year career in Chicago, said this performance marks his first dŽbut as a director in Wisconsin and with the WCT.

“It absolutely couldn’t have been any better and being worth that commute from the east side of Madison is saying a great deal,” he said. “I know many are called amateurs, but local designer AJ Simon, who designed and built our set, is phenomenal and as good as any with whom I’ve worked.”

Stage manager of the production, Pam Seccombe, said “You Can’t Take It With You” is an American classic, so it’s a chance for audience members to see a show with a glorious production history.

“It was first performed in 1936, so it’s been around for a long time but it has a lot to say about things we deal with in our lives today,” she explained. “It’s a play that will make you laugh, but it will also make you think about what’s really important in life, taking time to enjoy the people in your life and to recognize what really matters.”

Kibler said although the production takes place in 1938 and is one of the most popular and revived American comedies of the last 60 years, the cast put a little contemporary spin on the play with casting choices that were typically played by men.

“In our production, Grandpa becomes Nana and Mr. DePinna becomes Miss DePinna. As I researched the time period of the play, those casting choices made more and more sense with what was going on in the country and the American workforce,” he said. “Our production has a special energy all its own. We have a matriarch to guide our household.”   

Kibler said in an age of computer simulated zombies and sun-loving vampires, 3-D, Imax and ‘to-the-second’ information, live theater is still a unique form of entertainment.  

“In no other experience, do we join together in the dark to celebrate our shared humanity watching live people imitate life in ways that make us laugh, cry and applaud,” he said. “Audiences have dwindled in many places and live theaters have gone under all over the country. I think it is important to celebrate a place like Waukesha Civic Theatre for its history, and for the potential of its future.”

For more information about the upcoming production and to purchase tickets, visit  

At a glance

What: “You Can’t Take It With You”

When: weekends through Nov. 3

Where: Waukesha Civic Theatre, 264 W. Main St.

Ticket information: call 547-0708 or visit