Arsenic & Old Lace- NP Community Playhouse

Abby and Martha Brewster (Lou Cox-Fornander and Carolyn Clark) serve their guest Mr. Gibbs (Wayne Anderson) with a glass of their homeade elderberry wine, with a few added ingredients. “Arsenic and Old Lace” opens at The North Platte Community Playhouse on Friday February 10.

Contributed by Scott M. Carlson-NPCP General Manager

After a twenty year hiatus, the classic stage production “Arsenic and Old Lace,” returns to the North Platte Community Playhouse stage. Written in 1939 by Joseph Kesselring, the play opened in New York City in 1941. In 1943, “Arsenic and Old Lace” moved to the famous Hudson Theatre where it ran until June 17, 2004 after 1,444 performances.
The play is a black comedy which revolves around film critic Mortimer Brewster. In addition to making the biggest decision of his life, marrying his long-time girlfriend Elaine, he must also deal with the antics of his “dysfunctional” family. His family consists of his two Aunts, Martha and Abby who have taken to murdering poor lonely old men by poisoning then with their homemade elderberry wine, made with a few “secret” ingredients; a brother Teddy who is convinced that he is Teddy Roosevelt and continuously digs locks for the Panama Canal in the family cellar; and brother Jonathon who has received plastic surgery, performed by the alcoholic Dr. Einstein, to conceal his identity and now looks like horror film actor Boris Karloff, who was a member of the opening night cast.
“Arsenic and Old Lace” is no stranger to the stage at the North Platte Community Playhouse. It was last produced in 1992. Arleen Petersen and Playhouse matriarch Virginia Robertson portrayed the Brewster sisters, Martha and Abby. Robinson, daughter of the late Keith Neville, was a staple at the North Platte Community for many, many years. The duo also starred in the production at the State Theatre in 1978. Petersen said that Virginia would only take part in the 1992 revival if her “sister” agreed to join her. “While the lines were a little harder to pick up the second time, but Virginia was an absolute joy to work with, and I absolutely fell in love with her.” Petersen said. “The true regret, is that Virginia will not be here to see the production.” Robertson passed away several years ago. “With Virginia’s passing, the Playhouse lost one of the best performers it has ever known.”
The current cast includes, Lou Cox-Fornander as Abby Brewster, Carolyn Clark as Martha Brewster, Gene Gildorf as Rev. Dr. Harper, Andrew Lee as Teddy Brewster, Ben Hill as Officer Brophy, Sam Fornander as Officer Klein, Amanda Pleiss as Elaine Harper, Ryan Pleiss as Mortimer Brewster, Wayne Anderson as Mr. Gibbs, James Keller as Jonathan Brewster, Josh Gesinski as Dr. Einstein, Sam Miller as Officer O’Hara, John Hales as Lieutenant Rooney and Morris Turner as Mr. Witherspoon. Chandra Boeka is the Understudy for Martha and Ben Bartholomew is the Understudy for Mortimer.
The production opens Friday February 10, with additional performances on February 11, 12, 18 and 19. Friday and Saturday curtains are 8:00PM and Sunday Matinees are at 2:00PM. Ticket sales begin Monday February 6, and are $15.00 for Adults and $7.00 for Children and Students. Tickets can be purchased at the North Platte Community Playhouse at 301 E. 5th, Monday-Friday during production weeks from Noon-5:00. Additionally, tickets can be purchased online at or at the door approximately one hour prior to the production. For more information, contact Scott Carlson at (308) 532-8559. “Arsenic and Old Lace,” is produced through special arrangements with Dramatists Play Service, and is made possible by our Corporate Sponsor, Norman, Paloucek and Herman Law Offices. We’ll see you down at the Neville!