Now On Stage
Arsenic and Old Lace
A Dark Comedy by Joseph Kesserling
Directed by Weston Twardowski
November 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22
Read the Reviews
The famous comedy success produced a smash hit in New York and on the road. Mortimer Brewster hates his job, but otherwise life is perfect—he’s got a smart, beautiful fiancée and two doting aunts. The only catch? These two sweet spinsters have a secret mission and a recipe for elderberry wine that really packs a punch. As Mortimer tries to navigate his family’s eccentricities while keeping his fiancée none the wiser, his sociopathic brother shows up with a taste for vengeance and a sidekick named Einstein. Will Mortimer make it to his wedding day, or fall victim to the family insanity first?
“Swift, dry, satirical and exciting, Arsenic and Old Lace kept the first-night audience roaring with laughter.”- N.Y Times
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Director: Weston Twardowski
Asst. Director: Frank Levy
Stage Manager: Carol Oalmann
Producer: Randy Perkins
Lights: Carson Cromatie
Sound: Alex Lavanaway
Mortimer Brewster: Phillip Lawrence
Abby Brewster: Elizabeth Williams
Martha Brewster: Lynn Larsen-Ruffin
Elain Harper: Christine Carey
Alice/Dr. Harper: Kaitlyn Seiler
Teddy Brewster: Kenneth Faherty
Jonathan Brewster: John Carambat
Dr. Einstein: Robert Jahnke
Officer Brophey: Christopher Rao
Officer Klein: Daniel Matthews
Mr. Gibbs: Ken Thompson
Officer O'Hara: Reggie Badeaux
Lieutenant Roony: Mack Maginnis
Mr. Witherspoon: Ronnie Pogue
Playmakers audiences cheer Arsenic and Old Lace
by Desirée Waguespack
What happens when you have New
Orleans as the setting for two crazy spinsters,
24 bodies and an elderberry wine recipe that
kills? Arsenic and Old Lace, which is the
must-see, comedy thriller currently featured
at Playmakers Theatre.
This performance of Arsenic and Old
Lace is set in 1939 New Orleans, rather
than the author Joseph Kesserling’s original
setting of Brooklyn. This change brings a
nostalgic familiarity to local audiences with
jazz music, Louisiana cuisine and bayou
madness. Weston Twardowski, along with
Frank Levy, directed this genuine classic that
results in standing ovations. Carol Oalmann
is stage manager.
Stage sisters Elizabeth Pfeffer Williams,
as Aunt Abby, and Lynn Larsen-Ruffin, as
Aunt Martha, definitely “steal the show”
with their irresistible charm and funny oneliners
about their cellar collection of lonely,
Philip Lawrence expertly plays Mortimer
Brewster, also a theatre critic and a nephew.
He incredulously exclaims to his aunts, “There’s a body in the window seat!” To
which Aunt Abby innocently replies, “Yes,
we know dear. We never dreamed you’d
Mortimer is engaged to the lovely
Christine Carey, as Elaine Harper, the preacher’s
daughter and the girl next door. She finds
it hard to understand why he is obsessed with
putting his brother Teddy Brewster, who
believes he is President Theodore Roosevelt,
in Mandeville’s asylum. Kenneth Faherty
gives an energetic performance as Teddy.
As if things could not possibly get worse,
their criminally insane brother Jonathan
Brewster returns home looking and acting
like Boris Karloff, courtesy of his plastic
surgeon partner Dr. Einstein. Both Jonathan
and Dr. Einstein, played realistically by John
Carambat and Robert Jahncke, respectively,
seem to be the only ones who can intimidate
Aunt Abby and Aunt Martha…ever so
It’s a good thing that the police officers don’t have a clue what is happening at the
sweet aunts' home in uptown New Orleans.
Rex Badeaux, Bill Larson-Ruffin, Daniel
Matthew and Mack Maginnis, Jr., as four of
New Orleans’ finest officers, eat petit fours
and finger sandwiches with the charitable
and sweet aunts.
Add to this mix the talent of Kaitlyn
Seiler, Ronnie Pogue and Ken Thompson
as Susan Harper, Dr. Witherspoon and Mr.
Gibbs, respectively, and this production is
Twardowski, Carson Cromatie and Alex
LaVanway provided great lighting and sound.
Even when the room would go dark, they
managed to let just enough light in for us to
see the cast on stage.
The cast, Mark Leonard
and Barbara Faherty did a wonderful job of
creating a Victorian-decorated living room
that was beautiful and added to the ambiance
of the New Orleans setting.
Wendy Schneider designed the program
cover and the poster, assisted by Susan
Duhon, Missie Arata Noel and Lisa Erichson.
Jim and Ellen O’Connell and Schneider were
in charge of photographs and publicity.
And Old Lace A Solid Hit
by Lou Gavin
Playmakers Theater of Covington has taken the grand old style farce Arsenic and Old Lace and turned it into a solid hit. Playing to a very appreciative audience at its opening this past Friday, the play is a tale of two seemingly sweet elderly ladies, Abby and Martha Brewster, who are actually a gruesome twosome with a quaint habit of dispatching old and lonely men to eternal peace by serving them poisoned homemade wine. This is all part of their supposedly community charitable work. This endeavor all started when the first of these men had a heart attack and died while he was there looking at a room the ladies had to rent. They thought he looked so happy and peaceful that they thought it would be nice to make more lonely men just as happy. Abetting them in their macabre endeavor is a lunatic brother Teddy, who thinks he is President Theodore Roosevelt, and the ladies have him believing he is digging a new lock for the “Panama Canal” in the basement when actually he is burying the departed victims. He does this when he is not busy blowing his bugle or charging up the stairs, believing them to be San Juan Hill. Then there is Mortimer Brewster, the aunts’ nephew, having discovered a body in a window seat, frantically attempts to keep the murders a secret. Toss in this mix a vicious criminal, the aunts’ brother Jonathan Brewster, his evil sidekick Dr. Herman Einstein, who have a body of their own to dispose of, plus some other odd characters and what come out is a play written by Joseph Kesselring that on stage is a satirical, exciting, humorous production.
Making his directorial debut of a Playmakers play, Weston Twardowski has expertly blended together some of Playmakers more popular performers with some exceptionally talented newcomers to the Playmakers stage. The two aunts Abby and Martha Brewster, are played by Elizabeth Pfeffer Williams and Lynn Larsen-Ruffin respectively with just enough charming lunacy to make them the hit of the show. Philip Lawrence plays Mortimer Brewster and is quite believable as the frustrated nephew after discovering his aunts’ dark deeds. John Carambat, stepping out of his leading men’s roles, is very credible as the sinister Jonathan Brewster. Robert Jahncke adds to the comedy as Dr. Einstein through his alcoholic imbibing which causes him to remake Jonathan into the image of Boris Karloff. Christine Carey lights up the stage as Elaine Harper as she engages witty and sometimes flirty banter with Mortimer whom she intends to marry. Kenneth Faherty is just perfect as the half-witted Teddy (a role he was born to play). Other actors who give fine performances include Rex Badeaux, Bill Larsen-Ruffin, Daniel Matthew, Mack Maginnis, Jr., Kaitlyn Seiler, Ronnie Pogue and Ken Thompson.
This play is a classic and you are encouraged to check out. In fact you will have to see the show to learn what happens to the two quaint aunties. But caution, don’t drink the wine.