Tooele Valley Theatre will open their third season on Tuesday, April 4, with “Arsenic and Old Lace” at the Tooele High auditorium.
“When deciding how to open our 3rd season, Arsenic and Old Lace was a perfect choice for us,” said Emily Henwood, one the founders of Tooele Valley Theatre and director of “Arsenic and Old Lace.” “It’s a smaller, intimate show sprinkled with delightful dark comedy. The audience has a chance to peek into the living room of the Brewster household and witness the madness that unfolds up close and personal.”
As the show opens, Mortimer Brewster, a writer who has previously denounced marriage, gets engaged to his childhood neighbor, Elaine Harper. While sharing the news with his aunts that raised him, Mortimer discovers that his benevolent blue-blooded Mayflower descendant aunts are serial killers, who are unaware that their use of wine laced with arsenic, strychnine and just a “pinch of cyanide” to dispatch lonely old men is murder, not a service to end their suffering.
Add to the mix Mortimer’s brothers, Teddy who harmlessly believes he is Teddy Roosevelt and Jonathan who, along with his friend Dr. Einstein — Herman not Albert, is a psychopathic serial killer.
There are several twists and turns in the plot, but there will be no spoiler here. Readers will need to see the play to learn where the bodies get buried and how the conflicts are resolved.
“Arsenic and Old Lace,” was written in 1939 by American playwright Joseph Kesselring. The farcical dark comedy was adopted for the big screen in a 1944 film starring Cary Grant and directed by Frank Capra — a three time Academy Award winning director who also directed the long running Christmas show “It’s a Wonderful LIfe.”
“The colorful, kooky, unique characters make for a perfect storm of comedy and we couldn’t resist telling this story at Tooele Valley Theatre,” Henwood said.
The cast includes Chad Henwood as Mortimer Brewster with Nolana Lord and Tanya Ray as Martha and Abby Brewster, respectively. Elaine Harper is portrayed by Ashley Carter and Robert Purvis is Teddy Brewster.
PJ Stinson and Glen Carpenter portray Jonathan Brewster and Dr. Einstein, respectively. Blake Warner is Reverend Dr. Harper. Raine Eldredge, Victoria Morgas and Zel McCallister are Officers O’Hara, Brophy and Klein. Mr. Gibbs is played by Blake Warner. Mr. Witherspoon is Andy Nixon. Meredith Thomas plays the role of Lt. Rooney.
“Arsenic and Old Lace” opens on April 4 at the Tooele High School auditorium at 298 West 100 South in Tooele City. All shows start at 7 pm., with a 1:30 p.m. matinee on April 8. Tickets, $12 for adults, $10 for children, and more information about Tooele Valley Theatre and the show are available at tooelevalleytheatre.org.
“Every aspect of this production has come together perfectly and with a lot of hard work and talent, we’ve created something absolutely wonderful,” Henwood said. “All we want is to share it with the people of Tooele!”