Chief Players present night of fright, hilarious delight with production of ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’
October 18, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — How is it that several characters —undeniably delusional and connected by a slew of murders and familial ties — prove themselves anew with continued acclaim?
Perhaps, it has something to do with the dark, curious and relatable tale known as "Arsenic and Old Lace."
Written in 1939, by playwright Joseph Kesselring, the dark comedy opened on Broadway in 1941 and then was adapted into a film starring Cary Grant in 1944.
For those wondering if the Brewster family lives up to its fame, the Chief Players will present a local production of "Arsenic and Old Lace," directed by actor and producer Sabrina Stewart, at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, and Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Chief Theater.
If you go
What: "Arsenic and Old Lace"
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 19 to 20 and Oct. 26 to 27
Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.
"People have always loved and always will enjoy dark comedies," said Chris Wadopian, who stars as Mortimer Brewster, the plays leading male role. "It’s a great show to put on during Halloween season with it being based on a true story."
According to the play's description, spinster sisters, Abby and Martha, have a knack for poisoning lonely, old men with their homemade arsenic-laced elderberry wine, all for charity – one with a peculiar nature.
The play also features the sisters' nephew, Teddy, who thinks he's Theodore Roosevelt, a character named Jonathan, a Boris Karloff look-alike psychopath, and Mortimer, a likable drama critic who attempts to grapple with the events that unfold between his homicidal family, fiancée and the Brooklyn authorities.
On family antics
Before opening night, the production's actors had a few things to share about the new local production.
"Everyone can relate to the Brewsters," said Katie Carroll, who plays the lead female role, Elaine Harper, Mortimer's girlfriend.
"It's about family," she continued. "This is certainly a crazy Brooklyn family, but everyone can relate to having an odd cousin or the sibling that is perfect or the aunt that loves to see you for Sunday dinner."
"Comedy is timeless," Stewart said. "Especially when it comes to crazy family dynamics — made more interesting when three family members are sociopaths."
First encounters with the Brewster family
"I had read and seen the play when I was a teenager, put on by a drama troupe from a neighboring high school," Wadopian said.
"I remember watching the Cary Grant film," Carroll said. "It's wonderful."
Prepare for a few surprises
"I'm beyond proud of the incredible job this cast and crew have done so far,” Stewart said. “The live performance is going to blow everyone away."
"The audience will be surprised at how hilarious a story about murder by poison can be," Carroll said.