Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones will star in a revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy You Can’t Take It With You. The play, written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, is scheduled to begin previews in August in advance of a Sept. 28 opening.
Jones will play Grandpa Martin Vanderhof, the head of a family of eccentrics living in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan. The comical plot is set in motion when Alice, Grandpa’s relatively “normal” granddaughter, falls in love with Tony Kirby, a straight-laced executive. A wild dinner party ensues when Tony’s stuffy parents drop in on the wrong date. The production will be directed by Tony nominee Scott Ellis (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Curtains) and will feature a multiracial cast. Further casting and the theater will be announced at a later date.
In addition to his Tony-winning performances in The Great White Hope and Fences, Jones has appeared in Broadway in such productions as The Best Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, On Golden Pond, Othello, Of Mice and Men, Paul Robseon, and The Iceman Cometh.
One of the most popular plays in community and high school theaters, You Can’t Take It With You premiered on Broadway in 1936, starred Henry Travers (Clarence the angel from It’s a Wonderful Life) and ran for 837 performances. The 1938 film version directed by Frank Capra starred James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, and Ann Miller and won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. Two prominent Broadway revivals were presented in 1965 (with Rosemary Harris as Alice) and in 1983 (with Jason Robards, Elizabeth Wilson, Colleen Dewhurst and James Coco).