Renowned local actress Kathleen Warfel’s production of “You Can’t Take It With You” opens at MidAmerica Nazarene University Feb. 29.

“This experience has been wonderful; full of challenges, growth, inventiveness and fun,” says Warfel, who is directing the play for MNU’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts.

This is Warfel’s first collaboration with MNU, but she is known in Kansas City for her work with the Kansas City Repertory Theater and most recently for performing Mattie Fae Aiken for KC Rep’s August: Osage County. Her directing credits range from self-produced to educational and professional productions. Among those are Marion Bridge for Kansas City’s Actor’s Theater, Original 1-Acts for Johnson County Community College, Arsenic and Old Lace for Avila University, Other People’s Money for the Theater League, and Icarus’ Mother for Gypsy Theater.

MNU Fine and Performing Arts Department Chair Dr. Mary Jane Wilder-Hardee says that having a local artist with such varied connections is a great asset to university students.

“It connects the theater community to us, and us to the theater community,” says Wilder. “It helps our students be more vibrantly involved in the arts community in this city.”

She characterizes the experience of working with Warfel as “calm, organized and professional.” Assistant director Heather Tinker says Warfel’s presence has been a good opportunity for her to learn as well.

“Kathleen’s experience and talent can be seen in everything she does,” says Tinker. “I have learned so much by getting to work with her.”

“I love working with a student, indeed, any actor, any person, in any situation, who is eager to learn and willing to collaborate,” Warfel says. "You Can't Take it With You" has been rich with this opportunity.”

“You Can’t Take It With You” is about two very different families; the carefree, zany Sycamores and the aristocratic, stuffy Kirbys. Tony Kirby falls in love with Alice Sycamore and brings his parents to dine at the Sycamore’s home. When the two families collide the comical misunderstandings increase. Will the two families reconcile or will Alice be convinced that a marriage between the two families is impossible?

The show opens Feb. 29 with a matinee performance at 10 a.m.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday matinee begins at 2 p.m. For ticketing information, call (913) 971-3636, or visit www.mnu.edu/bellcenter.