Arsenic & Old Lace (Nov. 2018)

PerformancesNov. 2, 3, 9, 10, 11*, 16 & 17, 2018
Curtain Time: 8 p.m.
*Sunday November 11th is a special 2:00 pm matinee, order early!
Auditions: September 9 & 10 @ 7 pm
Directed by: Anne Guffey

By Joseph Kesselring

Insanity just doesn’t run in the Brewster family…it gallops. Arsenic and Old Lace ran for three years and over fourteen hundred performances on Broadway! In this classic comedy the plot centers on Mortimer Brewster, a drama critic and the most ostensibly normal of his clan, is forced to cover up for his sadistic kin while being torn between family loyalty and his desire to marry the woman he loves.

His family includes two spinster aunts who have taken to murdering lonely old men by poisoning them with a glass of home-made elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and “just a pinch” of cyanide; a brother who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt and digs locks for the Panama Canal in the cellar of the Brewster home (which then serve as graves for the aunts’ victims; he thinks that they died of yellow fever); and a murderous brother who has received plastic surgery performed by an alcoholic accomplice, Dr. Einstein (a character based on real-life gangland surgeon Joseph Moran) to conceal his identity, and now looks like horror-film actor Boris Karloff (a self-referential joke, as the part was originally played on Broadway by Karloff).

Exploring themes including family loyalty, nature versus nurture, and whether we can ever truly break away from our family’s influence, Arsenic and Old Lace is praised for its dark, screwball comedy tone with The New York Times theater critic declaring it one of the funniest plays he’d ever seen.

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