by Harry Segall
Our favorite farce - this is the first show The Masquers has reprised three times in our 86 year history.
First brought to the stage in 1941, Joseph Kesselring’s dark comedy is one of our favorite farces. Set in the home of the Brewsters, a family descended from the “Mayflower”, Abby and Martha keep house while nephew Teddy (he thinks Roosevelt) digs the Panama canal in the basement. The two spinsters have a small habit of populating the “canal” with the remains of single male roomers, which they have poisoned with homemade elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and “just a pinch” of cyanide.
Our hero, Mortimer Brewster, desperately tries to deal with his aunts and Teddy along with criminal brother Jonathan and his cohort Dr. Einstein while trying to convince himself that he is not afflicted with the malaise running rampant in his family.
Made famous by the film of the same name in 1944, the play was a smash hit on Broadway running for 1,444 performances.
Announcing the cast for Arsenic and Old Lace.
Martha Brewster (an elderly lady) - Claran LaViolette
Abby Brewster (her elderly sister) - Jerrilynn Burkart
Teddy Brewster (their brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt) - Roger Bennin
Mortimer Brewster (their nephew) - Tim Brey
Elaine Harper (his fiancé) - Corrie Skubal
Rev. Dr. Harper (her father) - Bruce Bitter
Officer Klein - Justin Nickels
Officer O'Hara (a raconteur) - Marty Schaller
Officer Brophy - Michael Schamburek
Lieutenant Rooney - Paul Hacker
Jonathan Brewster (Mortimer's murderous brother) - Patrick Schamburek
Dr. Einstein (his accomplice) - Tom Bartelme
Mr. Gibbs - Warren Schmidt
Producer - Emilee Landon
Director - Luan Leonardelli
Stage Manager - Warren Schmidt
Set Design - Warren Schmidt
Master Builder - Jim Schweitzer
Set Decorator - Jonathan Medendorp
Costume Mistress - Claran LaViolette
Makeup Design - Margaret Iannitello
Hair Design - Maryann Knier
Props - Roz Vossen
Lighting Design - Lori Hebel
Sound Design - Aaron Ludolph
Crew members include - Thomas Moore, Ellen Peronto, Ann Wolf, Beck Iannitello, Bob Heili
Auditions were held in December and the cast announced. Please see the Cast tab for a complete list of the cast.
The Board of Directors of the Masquers appointed Luan Leonardelli as director of the second show of this 86th season, Arsenic and Old Lace. Luan has been a very active member of the Masquers for the last twenty years, and has established herself as a very experienced and capable producer during that time. Coincidently, one of Luan's first jobs as producer was for Arsenic and Old Lace in 1981, the last time the Masquers presented this show.
Luan is looking forward to this first foray into the world of directing, and has stated that this is one of her favorite shows. We agree, since this will be the fourth time we will have presented this show in our 86 year history -- Arsenic and Old Lace is officially our favorite farce. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we do, and good luck Luan!