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Acting up at the little theatre and stars under the stars

by Mark Burger

You can’t take it with you? Says who? The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem will open its 74 th season with its production of the classic George S Kaufman/Moss Hart stage comedy You Can’t Take It With You. The show doesn’t open until September (Sept. 19, to be exact), but first they’ve got to assemble a cast. The show focuses on a wildly eccentric family, the Sycamores, and how they view life, love and just about anything else that pops into their addled minds. When Alice Sycamore gets engaged to

Tony Kirby, Tony decides to invite his family to the Sycamores for a dinner party that, as you might expect, goes haywire at every turn. But who’s really crazy: the Sycamores, who merrily misbehave but genuinely love each other, or the Kirbys, who disdain such displays of outrageous behavior? Director Frank Capra’s 1938 screen version of You Can’t Take It With You is widely regarded as one of the quintessential screwball comedies and earned seven Oscar nominations — winning for Capra as best director and as best picture. To this day, it remains one of only a handful of comedies so honored by the Academy. The play calls for nine men and seven women (ages 18-60), and auditions will be held Monday, Aug. 4, beginning at 7 p.m. in the ACT Trailers situated next to the Arts Council Theatre (610 Coliseum Drive). The theater itself, you see, is still undergoing renovations, and the production will be staged at Reynolds Auditorium. The Little Theatre holds proud its tradition of non-traditional casting within the community. If you have a yen to perform on stage, even if you’ve never done it before, why not check out the audition? Potential actors will be asked to read short scenes from the script. It’s as simple as that. At the very least you’ll spend time with some friendly people. (There are worse people to spend time with, believe me.) This production is being directed by Stan Bernstein, who I can unequivocally attest is an absolute madman, as well as being one of the region’s more versatile directors. Stan’s credits over the years include the Little Theatre’s productions of Wait Until Dark, The Nerd, A Few Good Men and Theatre Alliance’s production of Art, and his powers of persuasion are legendary. If he wants you to play a role, resistance is futile. For more information, call 336.748.0857 ext 201. You can also keep up to date on all the goings-on at the Little Theatre by checking out www. littletheatreonline.com/ • • •

In August, the Reynolda House Museum of American Art will present its third annual Cinema Under the Stars series, and it kicks off this Saturday (Aug. 2) with Blake Edwards’ 1961 classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, based on the novel by Truman Capote. Audrey Hepburn, who earned an Academy Award nomination as best actress, stars as Holly Golightly, and the all-star cast also includes George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam (always a favorite of mine) and Mickey Rooney, whose over-thetop turn as Holly’s Japanese neighbor is frequently criticized as one of the most stereotypical portrayals of an Asian ever committed to celluloid. Maybe so, but that didn’t prevent the film from being a huge box-office hit, earning Oscars for Henry Mancini’s score and the theme song (the inescapable “Moon River”), as well as additional nominations for George Axelrod’s adapted screenplay and the film’s art direction/set decoration. Gates open at 8 p.m. and the film will begin at 9 p.m. Beer and wine are available for purchase (no need to bring your own). Weather permitting, each screening will take place on the lawn and be preceded by a quick talk by local or visiting scholars or filmmakers. In case of rain, films will be screened indoors in the Babcock Auditorium. Subsequent films in the series include the 1933 classic King Kong (you simply cannot go wrong with Kong) on Aug. 9, Woody Allen’s Oscarnominated 1979 romantic comedy Manhattan on Aug. 16, Ivan Reitman’s 1984 box-office smash Ghostbusters on Aug. 23, Norman Jewison’s Oscarwinning 1987 comedy Moonstruck on Aug. 30, and Martin Scorsese’s 2001 crime epic Gangs of New York on Sept. 6. Each film in the series is set in New York City, which dovetails into the museum’s fall exhibition, Seeing the Stars: Sloan’s New York, an extensive collection of paintings, photographs, drawings and prints that reflect the impact of the city on Sloan’s art. The exhibition will open Oct. 4. Reynolda House is the final venue of the traveling exhibition’s four-city tour and its only stop in the South. Can you dig it? The Cinema Under the Stars series is co-sponsored by — surprise, surprise — the NCSA School of Filmmaking, in yet another example of cultural collaboration for which the City of the Arts is renowned. Admission is $5, $3 for students and members. For more information about the film series or any event at Reynolda House, see www. reynoldahouse.org/index.php. To comment on this story, e-mail Mark Burger at marksburger@yahoo.com.

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