Photos: Morristowne Photography

ABC Players Aim to Knock ’em Dead with “Arsenic and Old Lace”

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The Athenian Berean Community Players return to Stuart’s Opera House this weekend with four performances of the comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace,” May 14-17.

The play, which was a hit on Broadway in the 1940s and a beloved Frank Capra film, continues to have successful revivals both on Broadway and in London. The ABC Players production is directed by James Euto, assisted by Dharma Pook. Tansky Motors of Logan is the show sponsor.

The show follows the Brewster family, who are a little “different,” although you might never suspect it even if you live next door to them. The elderly Brewster sisters, Miss Abby and Miss Martha, are the nicest old ladies anyone would ever want to meet. They can always be depended upon to offer the homeless, the destitute, or the bereaved a sympathetic ear or a bit of homemade soup or elderberry wine. They share the family home in Brooklyn with a nephew, Teddy, and have two other nephews: Mortimer and Jonathan.

But as Mortimer (Jackson Savage) observes, “Insanity runs in our family. It practically gallops.” Teddy (Joe Balding) thinks he is President Theodore Roosevelt. For him, the stairs are San Juan Hill and the basement is the Panama Canal.

Jonathan (Daniel Wasserman) is a sadistic serial killer who is on the run from the law with a new, but horrible, face provided by whiskey-drinking plastic surgeon, Dr. Einstein (Micheal Cline). Mortimer is a heartless theater critic, who is nevertheless loved by Elaine (Liz Potter).

Miss Abby (Cecilia Rinaldi) and Miss Martha (Linda Watkins) are particularly kind to lonely, older gentlemen with no family or friends. They help the men to a peaceful passing as a “charity” by blending their homemade elderberry wine with arsenic, strychnine, and “just a pinch” of cyanide.

Several police officers (Ken Bowald, Jordan Proffitt and Leslie Heskett) look in on the Brewster home. Other visitors include Elaine’s father, The Rev. Dr. Harper; Mr. Gibbs, a prospective boarder; and Mr. Witherspoon, director of the Happy Dale Sanitorium — all played by Terrence Smith.

On opening night, ABC Players will be awarding the Steve Haskins Memorial Scholarship to Jade Morris and Jackson Savage. This year’s $250 scholarships are sponsored by O’Betty’s Red Hot!, Mathews Insurance and Gigi’s Country Kitchen.

Arsenic and Old Lace will be presented at 8 p.m. on May 14, 15 and 16, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 17. Advance sale tickets are $10; tickets bought at the door are $12; and student tickets are $7. Reservations are available at