Wayne Sullivan, drama ministry pastor for Compassion Christian Church, admires the teamwork his troupe employs in their drama program.

"Sometimes, theater casts only work together for the run of a show, but this team has worked together for many years through improvisational training and a variety of plays and musicals," Sullivan says.

"They are so comfortable with each other and know how to anticipate each other's needs and comedic timing - they really have each other's backs! It's our desire that the bonds of friendship and the trust they share off-stage certainly shows on-stage."

The same holds true for their new church dinner theater, "You Can't Take It With You."

"In a world where fitting in with the crowd seems to be the status quo, Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's classic comedy 'You Can't Take It With You' seeks to prove that the happiest people are those that embrace their individuality," he says.

Sullivan adds that the play won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The story follows Tony Kirby's engagement with Alice Sycamore. Things run amuck when their two families meet, and hilarity ensues.

Sullivan said it takes months of preparation for the performances.

"Our actors are rehearsing, set teams are building and decorating, and we're all hunting down interesting period costumes and props," he says. "The set is very specific in nature - every inch of wall space is filled with the family's collections and souvenirs. All the random things they love are displayed rather haphazardly around their house. Just by looking at the set, audiences will get a quick introduction to the eccentric nature of the Sycamores."

Audiences can expect the quirky play to mirror a life spent doing what you love.

"I love the sense of acceptance and community in this quirky, but lovable family. Everyone is invited in and encouraged to pursue what they love. The house is like a magnet for all kinds of people who visit here and just decide to stay because they're treated like family," Sullivan says.

"It's a far and hilarious cry from the wealthy, uptight Kirby family who thinks they're all rather crazy."

The heartwarming tale offers twists and turns and unexpected discoveries. Sullivan encourages those who may not have experienced dinner theater to check it out.

"Our audiences love being able to enjoy a delicious dinner together with family and friends, then see a great story. It's an enjoyable evening and a great way to check out life at Compassion Christian Church. We invite our guests to join us again for one of our worship services," he says.


What: "You Can't Take It With You" dinner theater

When: 6 p.m. July 14-16; dessert matinee 2 p.m. July 16

Where: Compassion Christian Church, 55 Al Henderson Blvd.

Cost: $10; $5 for matinee

Info: compassionchristian.com