The Copper Cities Community Players will perform You Can’t Take It With You on April 28, 29, and 30 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 each with 2022 season tickets available for $65. Tickets are on sale at the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts.
Set in the 1930s, this comedy features the culture clash of two New York City families at opposite ends of the social spectrum. The Sycamores are an extended houseful of quirky individualists who live their lives exactly as they please, ignoring the social pressures that tend to make most people more alike than different.
Whether it’s playing the xylophone, ballet dancing, playwriting, snake hunting, or making homemade fireworks in the basement, everyone in the Sycamore clan is free to follow whatever strikes their fancy.
The Kirbys, by contrast, are card-carrying members of high society—a distant cry from the devil-may-care Sycamores. Wall Street has made Mr. Kirby a rich man, but the constant pressure of his business obligations has consumed his life. He’s unhappy, but unwilling to admit it.
When Kirby’s son Tony falls in love with Alice, the lovely daughter of Paul and Penny Sycamore, the two families are thrust together and forced to reconcile their conflicting values.
Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman wrote You Can’t Take It With You in 1936. It was quickly made into an Academy award-winning film starring Jimmy Stewart and Lionel Barrymore in 1938. In 1979, a more theatrical version starring Art Carney made its way to a wide television audience.
The Copper Cities Community Players
The Copper Cities Community Players, more often referred to as just “The Players,” began their first theatrical productions in the early 1980s.
At first, performances were staged at the YMCA and local venues around town. In the coming years, volunteers lovingly transformed the original courtroom at the old courthouse into the intimate 100-seat theater we know today.
Fire codes required a fire escape and sprinkler system, so the first official production inside the newly restored Old Courthouse Theater was delayed until spring of 1990 with the performance of Twain by the Tail.
An elevator was installed in 2015 and continual upgrades in heating, cooling, and other infrastructure have been made over the years. Nearly all of the improvements were funded directly by ticket sales from theatrical productions.
A core group of actors, directors, lighting and sound techs, set builders, musicians, dancers, choreographers, composers, and writers has kept the Players a vibrant and growing performing arts community in the Globe and Miami area for the better part of three decades.
The musicals Rhythms of Life and Broad Street Does Broadway showcased a wellspring of local singing and dancing with annual productions from the mid-1990s through the 2000s. Little Shop of Horrors, The Crucible, and Moon Over Buffalo are a few of the dramatic plays staged during those early years.
Justa Cafe, a musical based on the staff and patrons of a famous local restaurant, was written and composed entirely by local residents, including the late Kip Culver. It was so popular that the Players reprised it several times, performing it first in 2007, with the latest in 2015.
More recent theatrical productions during the 2010s include Lend Me a Tenor, Addams Family, Is He Dead, and Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple and Rumors.
For reasons that no one needs reminding, the Players were forced to shut down their annual Spring, Fall, and Christmas productions for all of 2020 and most of 2021. Now, in April 2022, the Players are back in full force and ready to present You Can’t Take It With You.
The silver lining of the two-year performing hiatus is that February 2022 auditions attracted some new talent that will showcase their acting chops in the current production of You Can’t Take It With You.
This new slate of actors making their debut performances includes Justin Rockhill as Tony and Aly Buhler as Tony’s love interest Alice. Linda Alvarado portrays Rheba and her real-life husband Paul Alvarado plays Rheba’s boyfriend Donald. Nick Smyers plays Ed, and Laura Nordan channels the uppity Mrs. Kirby.
Offstage, Justin Rockhill works for Southwest Gas alongside fellow actor Jason Marr. Justin often brings along his loyal dog Gatlin, who obediently sleeps quietly and unnoticed through every rehearsal.
Aly Buhler is a self-proclaimed stay-at-home-dog-mom and is currently finishing up a Master’s degree in social work. After growing up in Globe, Nick Smyers graduated from ASU and returned home to do public relations work for Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center.
The Alvarados are happily retired and generally bring their teenage grandkids along to watch every rehearsal. Laura Nordan’s previous travel schedule with ADOT as a Water Resource Specialist had prevented her from auditioning with the Players, but now that she works from home, she has found the time to get up on stage.
Along with all these fresh recruits come the familiar faces of veteran actors with a long pedigree of productions under their belts. These seasoned actors need no introduction and include Cathy Montoya, Rudy Amador, Jason Marr, Guillermo “Willy” Thomas, Laura Stenerson, Kim Stone, Eileen Harbison, Chris Jones, and JohnyD and Moquie Flores.
Each of these experienced actors has committed anywhere from a handful of years to several decades to bring Copper Cities Community Players productions into existence on stage. Their familiar presence and perseverance have helped keep community theater thriving in Globe/Miami.
None of these theatrical productions would be possible without a director at the helm, and for the past few decades, that has been JoNell Brantley Thomas.
She and her full-time team member and husband Guillermo “Willy” Thomas know all too well of the vast undertaking required to pull these plays together. Often what happens behind the scenes can be filled with more drama than anything that happens on stage. (Someone should write a play about that.)
Sets must be built and volunteers need to do make-up, music, props, tickets, costumes, lights, sound, and a hundred other details that can make or break a production. All of this takes a coordinated team willing to work outside the limelight with little expectation of glory except a small mention in the program.
Along with the spate of newbie actors in You Can’t Take It With You comes Cecil Anthony Hernandez. He wrote and directed a one-act play for the Players three years ago, but now he’s fulfilling the job of JoNell’s right-hand man as Assistant Director and Producer for this full-length production. Originally from Gilbert, AZ, Anthony has a background in screenwriting, directing, and music production.
$20 General admission
$65 Season tickets include preferred seating in the first 4 rows
Purchase tickets at Cobre Valley Center for the Arts
Showtime: 7 p.m.
April 28 Opening night and reception
Kim Stone was a horticulturist, writer, and editor of several publications for the University of Arizona at Boyce Thompson Arboretum over the better part of three decades. He is now happily self-absorbed in freelance writing, travel, and content marketing.