arsenic-title

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  • Thursday, October 30: 7:30 pm
  • Friday, October 31 (Halloween) two shows: 7:30 & 10:00 pm
  • Saturday, November 1: 5:30 pm
  • Sunday, November 2: 12:30 pm

The play is a farcical black comedy written in 1939 by American playwright Joseph Kesselring. The film adaptation starring Cary Grant and directed by Frank Capra has made it best known.

Arsenic and Old Lace opens in the living room of the Brewster home, inhabited by two spinster aunts, Abby and Martha Brewster, and their nephew, Teddy. Rev. Dr. Harper is chatting with Abby about her other nephew, Mortimer, who in love with the reverend’s daughter, Elaine. Soon joining the conversation are two friendly police officers, Brophy and Klein, who have come by (as they often do) to pick up a box for charity from the kindly Brewster sisters. Theodore, who is rather crazy but harmless, thinks he is Theodore Roosevelt and charges up the stairs to retrieve the box. The reverend and the policemen leave, only to be replaced by Mortimer, who announces to his aunts that he intends to marry Elaine, whom he is taking to a play that evening.

However, the happy family starts to unravel when Mortimer lifts the lid to the window seat and discovers a dead body within. He immediately assumes that Teddy has killed the man. However, Abby and Martha tell Mortimer that it was they who poisoned the man with their homemade elderberry wine—and that he is the eleventh (or twelfth, depending on how you count) gentleman they have shared their wine with. The sisters explain that these are charitable acts: They befriend lonely older gentlemen who do not have much to live for and then kill them with elderberry wine laced with arsenic. They continue that Mortimer should not worry because Teddy is down in the cellar digging what he believes is the Panama Canal, but is in reality the latest grave. Just then Elaine arrives and an exited and worried Mortimer tells her they are not going to the theatre after all. After a brief quarrel, Elaine leaves.

About this time, Mortimer and Teddy’s brother, Jonathan, shows up. Jonathan, a true maniacal criminal, is accompanied by Dr. Einstein, a plastic surgeon of doubtful character. Dr. Einstein has changed Jonathan so that he looks like Boris Karloff, the horror film star.

Teddy invites Einstein to join him in the cellar, where he is supposedly digging the Panama Canal. Einstein quickly returns and confides to Jonathan that there is a hole large enough to bury Mr. Spenalzo (a man Jonathan recently killed) after everyone goes to bed. Once the lights are out and everyone is supposedly asleep, Teddy goes to the window seat to get Mr. Hoskins, and Jonathan and Einstein go to their car to get Mr. Spenalzo, both planning on filling the hole in the cellar.

Thus begins several hilarious scenes of lights blinking on and off, of bodies being moved from the window seat to the cellar to the car outside, and of accusations and threats back and forth.

Because of the commotion at the house, Officer O’Hara stops by to make sure all is well. When he is convinced that everything is alright, he shifts topics and corners Mortimer in a discussion of a play he is writing.

Lieutenant Rooney bursts in and recognizes Jonathan as an escapee from a prison for the criminally insane. Jonathan tells the officers about the bodies in the cellar, but they don’t believe him and take him off to prison. Einstein gets away, and Theodore is certified insane and taken to the Happy Dale Sanitarium.

Trying to protect society without sending his aunts to prison, Mortimer ecstatically agrees when his aunts insist on going to Happy Dale with their nephew. The aunts then kindly inform Mortimer that he is actually not a member of the Brewster family. He was an illegitimate child and thus can marry Elaine without fear of passing the Brewster insanity on to his children. Mortimer happily departs, but before the women leave their house, they offer a drink to the head of Happy Dale, Mr. Witherspoon who is a lonely older gentleman. He gladly accepts a glass of the spiked elderberry wine…

Jean Eelma plays Abby Brewster: A darling lady who poisons elderly men, Abby is the sister of Martha and aunt to Teddy, Jonathan, and Mortimer.

LaRonda Bourn plays Martha Brewster: A sweet elderly woman with Victorian charm who poisons elderly men, Martha is the sister of Abby and an aunt to Teddy, Jonathan, and Mortimer.

Anita Prestige plays Elaine Harper: An attractive girl and Mortimer’s fiancée, Elaine is the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Harper. She is surprisingly wise in the ways of the world for a minister’s daughter.

Sam Patet plays Mortimer Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha, Mortimer is a drama critic who is engaged to Elaine. A good-hearted cynic who is about to have his world turned upside down.

Paul Henning plays Teddy Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha Brewster, Teddy thinks that he is Theodore Roosevelt and dresses like him.

John Bourn plays Officer O’Hara: An annoying police officer, O’Hara is a would-be playwright who pesters Mortimer to read his play.

David Henning plays Officer Klein: A young policeman trying to impress the neighbors and his own colleagues.

Mark Santelman plays Jonathan Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha Brewster, Jonathan is a psychopath who has numerous murders to his credit and no scruples whatsoever. He is a bit oversensitive to his “new” appearance.

Tom Kaehler plays Dr. Einstein: Plastic surgeon and an alcoholic in his fifties, Dr. Einstein has changed Jonathan’s face three times, with his most recent work resulting in a Frankenstein like resemblance.

Kevin Sweeney plays The Rev. Dr. Harper: Minister and father of Elaine. A bit pompous and protective, very ministerial in his manner.

Nick Wellmann plays Officer Brophy: A flatfoot Brooklyn cop with the usual charm of an Irish police officer.

Phil Henning plays Lieutenant Rooney: A tough, hard-boiled detective.

John Bergstrand plays Mr. Gibbs: A man who wishes to rent a room from the Brewster sisters.

Surprise Guest plays Mr. Witherspoon: The superintendent of Happy Dale Sanitarium.

2014-2015-season-header 1. “Hermann the German: The Scandal that Rocked New Ulm!” in the State Street Theatre Auditorium. An original play from the Minneapolis Fringe Festival.
• Saturday, October 11 at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

“Rumpelstiltskin” at Fairmont Children’s Theatre Workshop (Red Rock Arts Center)
• Saturday October 11

2. “Arsenic and Old Lace” in the Off Broadway Studio, (OBS) A Comedy, Adults
• Thursday, October 30, 7:30 pm
• October 31 (Halloween) two shows, 7:30 & 10:00 pm
• Saturday, November 1, 5:30 pm
• Sunday, November 2, 12:30 pm

Gnome Made Workshops (David W & Leah B) in OBS
• Kids in two workshops with shows at 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm on Saturday, November 18

Christkindlmarkt shows in the Event Center (starring adults)
• One Rehearsal: Saturday, November 22, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm in the OBS
• Performance: Saturday, November 29

3. “A Christmas Story” Holiday Radio Play in State Street Theatre Auditorium (Kids and Adults Radio Play)
• Auditions: November 13 & 14 at 7:00pm, Nov 15 at noon
• Performances: Friday, Saturday & Sunday December 5, 6, 7, 2014

4. “A Gershwin Valentine” ♥ Valentine’s Day Weekend Dinner Theatre in State Street Theatre Auditorium (dinner theatre on stage)
• Auditions: January 12 & 13 at 7:00 pm
• Performances: Friday and Saturday, February 13 &14, 2015

5. “Who Murdered Mozart?” in the State Street Theater Auditorium (With the Mankato Symphony and opera singers from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area)
• Auditions: March 9 & 10
• Performance: Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 7:30 pm

“Murder in Fairmont” at the Red Rock Center for the Arts
• Friday and Saturday, April 17 & 18

6. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the State Street Theater Auditorium (NUACT’s Annual Summer Musical)
• Auditions: May 14 & 15 at 7:00 pm, May 16 at noon
• Auditions/Callbacks: May 19 & 20 at 7 pm May 21; Callbacks (if necessary)
• Performance: Thursday – Sunday, July 23, 24, 25, 26, 2015

levels

Student or Senior Contributor • $25.00
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Theatre Supporter • $100.00
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Program acknowledgement

Season Ticket Holder • $250.00
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Program acknowledgment
Two season tickets
Invitations to special backstage events and cast parties

Angel • $500.00 (Corporate or individual)
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Four season tickets
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Producer • $1,000.00 (Corporate or individual)
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Eight season tickets
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Marquee Inner Circle • $2,500 or more (Corporate or individual)
Early ticket sales
Program acknowledgment
Twenty season tickets
Invitations to special backstage events and cast parties
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Something Artsy, Summer Edition 2014