Arsenic and Old Lace is a beloved farce that has been a staple of many theatres since 1941.
It provides plenty of fun acting opportunities for both men and women over 50, as well as younger folks in their late 20's and early 30's.
The play takes place in the living room of the Brewster sisters' home, a Victorian mansion in Brooklyn, New York in 1941. The play will be done in that time period.
ABBY BREWSTER - Female. Played to be in her late 60's. A sweet, darling lady and sister to Martua, Aunt to Mortimer, Teddy, Jonathan; Kind, devoted to helping others
REV. DR. HARPER - Male. Played late 50's or older. Next door neighbor and friend, minister of neighborhood church, father to Elaine Appropriately formal, wears clerical garb
TEDDY BREWSTER - Male.Played in 40's. Nephew to Abby and Martha; Believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt; Should be able to carry a "dead body" offstage, as well as "charge" upstairs on a run
OFFICER BROPHY - Male. Age not specific -can be 20's and up; Brooklyn police officer Kind, courteous cop-on-the-beat Likes the family
OFFICER KLEIN - Male. Age not specific - 20's and up Brooklyn police officer
Kind, courteous cop-on-the-beat Likes the family, but slightly more abrupt in manner
MARTHA BREWSTER - Female. Played as in her 60's. Described as being "also a sweet elderly woman with Victorian charm" . Wears high collars that cover neck Charitable
ELAINE HARPER - Female. Probably 20's, but could be 30's. Rev. Harper's daughter who becomes engaged to Mortimer in Act I (there are several kissing scenes)
About the Show
NOTE: Ages given are approximate. The sisters are played to be in their '60's.
Ages of the Brewster nephews, Jonathan and Teddy, rather depend upon the casting of their brother, Mortimer, who should be played at least in his late 20's to have attained his post on the New York newspaper as the drama critic.
Although Abby and Martha are a bit eccentric, they will not be played "over the top."
(If possible, accents of the time period, area and ethnicity will be used.)
MORTIMER BREWSTER - Male. Played late 20's or 30's. Beloved nephew of Abby and Martha New York Drama Critic Very fond of his aunts and Teddy; Rather sees himself as sophisticated, but able to play comic, rather frenetic scenes Several kissing scenes with Elaine
MR. GIBBS - Male. 50 - 70's. Lonely, cranky older gentleman, looking for a room.
Small, but fun role
JONATHAN BREWSTER - Male. Played 40's - 50's Nephew of Abby & Martha although without their kindness or charm Tall, imposing, self- assured, and menacing Psychopath whose last plastic surgery left him resembling Boris Karloff
DR. EINSTEIN -Male. Played 50's and older. Plastic surgeon who drinks too much Not quite as merciless as Jonathan Actually, rather likable Needs to be able to do a bit of physical comedy of falling into window seat and hefting "dead" body (dummy)
OFFICER O'HARA - Male. Mid-30's - 50's. Brooklyn police officer, very talkative More interested in becoming a playwright than policing; not the most reliable officer for attending to police business, easily distracted
LIEUTENANT ROONEY - Male. late 40's - 60's . Brooklyn police man
More gruff, tough, driving, confident, commanding
MR. WITHERSPOON - Male. played 60's plus. Described as " tight-lipped disciplinarian"
the Superintendent of Happy Dale Sanitarium Small role, but ends the show!