Arsenic and Old Lace set for Norris Center for the Performing Arts

Apr 19, 2012
Norris Center For the Performing Arts

The Norris Center for the Performing Arts will present the classic comedy, "Arsenic and Old Lace," April 27 - May 13. A smash hit when it was first produced on Broadway in 1941. Joseph Kesselring's wickedly funny, madcap masterpiece about a wildly eccentric family is one of the most popular American stage plays of all time. A film adaptation, directed by the legendary Frank Capra, and starring Cary Grant, became an international box office success.

The production stars equity actors Jill Rogosheske (Abby) and Mary Chalon (Martha) as the maiden aunts. The cast also includes Craig Woolson (Mortimer), Nick Santa Maria (Jonathon), Jason Sluyter (Teddy), Officer Brophy (Karl Jaecke), James McHale (Officer Brophy), John Briganti (Rev. Harper), Rebecca Morris (Elaine), Harry Ratner (Mr. Witherspoon), Scott K. Ratner (Dr. Einstein) and Allan Lynch (Lieutenant Rooney).

"Arsenic and Old Lace" is the farcical tale of drama critic Mortimer Brewster, who must decide whether to go through with his recent betrothal after discovering that his two sweet maiden aunts have been murdering lonely male lodgers by poisoning them with a glass of homemade elderberry wine laced with arsenic. Adding to the mayhem is their delusional brother who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt, and digs locks for the Panama Canal in the cellar of the Brewster home (which then serve as graves for the aunts' victims); and his long-lost, criminally crazy sibling, Jonathon, who shows up after undergoing radical plastic surgery to conceal his identity, and now resembles horror-film actor Boris Karloff.

"Never have insanity and murder been more charming and hilarious than in "Arsenic and Old Lace," says producing director James Gruessing. "We are so excited to be able to close our 3-play season with this truly timeless and brilliant stage classic."

"Arsenic and Old Lace" will be performed on April 27-29, May 4-6 and May 11-13. Show times are 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets cost $38 and are available online at, by phone at 310-544-0403, or in person at the box office. The Norris Theatre is located at 27570 Norris Center Drive in Rolling Hills Estates. The facility is wheelchair accessible, and free, covered parking is available.