You Can't Take It With You


Writers: Moss Hart George S. Kaufman


Show Information

Text And Format
Number of Acts
First Produced
Period, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
the vanderhof/sycamore house, new york, ny, 1936
Cast Size
Ideal for
high school theatre, college / university theatre, community theatre, professional theatre, ensemble cast, large cast, College/University, Community Theatre, Diverse Cast, Ensemble Cast, High School, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes elderly, mature adult, adult, young adult characters


Grandpa Vanderhof and his wacky family, the Sycamores, have been happily living their zany lives in his house by Columbia University in New York for many years. This family (and their friends) are a madcap group of eccentrics, marching to the beat of their own drum, with pride and joy. Their hobbies include collecting snakes, building fireworks in the basement, writing a myriad of plays that never get published, and taking ballet lessons. Things like stress, jobs, and paying taxes to the government are for other people, not for them! But when practical young Alice Sycamore becomes engaged to her company’s Vice President Tony Kirby, the Vanderhof/Sycamore clan must straighten up to meet the new in-laws. Disaster ensues when the Kirbys arrive at the wrong time and, despite the best laid plans, see Alice’s family in all of its crazy glory. The evening ends with everyone in the house getting arrested, and Alice ending the engagement. It isn’t until Grandpa’s wise speech to Mr. Kirby about the importance of living life to the fullest that the two families find a way to accept each other, and love conquers all. You Can’t Take It With You is a madcap, idealistic comedy that reinforces the idea that you can only live life to the fullest by doing whatever makes you happy.

Lead Characters

You Can't Take It With You guide sections