The Guthrie Theater will present Arsenic and Old Lace, Joseph Kesselring's classic comedy that kills with kindness. As previously announced, the incomparable Sally Wingert returns to the Guthrie stage for the first time since last season's Faith Healer, joining acclaimed comedienne and Broadway veteran Kristine Nielsen to play the pair of well-meaning sisters, Martha and Abby Brewster, respectively. The production, which marks the 70th anniversary of a play The New York Times called "so funny that none of us will ever forget it," will be directed by Joe Dowling and presented at the Guthrie for the first time since 1975.
Joining Wingert and Nielsen in this uproarious comedy are many familiar faces, including Michael Booth (Officer Klein), Bob Davis (Teddy Brewster), Tyson Forbes (Jonathan Brewster), Nathaniel Fuller (Reverend Dr. Harper / Mr. Witherspoon), Jonas Goslow (Mortimer Brewster), Terry Hempleman (Officer O'Hara), Hugh Kennedy (Officer Brophy), Kathryn Lawrey (Elaine Harper), Kris L. Nelson (Dr. Einstein) and Peter Thomson (Mr. Gibbs/Lieutenant Rooney).
Spinster sisters Abby and Martha Brewster have taken to befriending lonely older gentlemen and then poisoning them with arsenic-laced elderberry wine - all while chatting up a minister, devoting themselves to charity and trying to keep an eye on their crazy but harmless nephew Teddy (Davis), who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt and has been digging the Panama Canal in the Brewsters' cellar. All of this goes undetected until the sisters' theater critic nephew Mortimer (Goslow) stops by one evening and finds a body in their window seat. When the woman he wants to marry, Elaine Harper (Lawrey), arrives to accompany him to the theater, Mortimer is in such a flustered state that the pair quarrel and Elaine runs off. The real trouble, however, appears in the form of yet another nephew, Jonathan (Forbes), a criminal maniac who has had plastic surgery that makes him look like Boris Karloff. It turns out that he and his associate Dr. Einstein (Nelson) have a body of their own that they'd like to bury and are delighted to discover Teddy's "canal" in the cellar. As bodies are moved and nosy policemen deftly avoided, Mortimer must figure out how to end his aunts' deadly hobby without sending them to prison and find a way for him and Elaine to have a future together.
The artistic team also includes John Lee Beatty (Set Designer), Christine A. Richardson (Costume Designer), Tom Mays (Lighting Designer), Scott W. Edwards (Sound Designer), Michael Lupu (Dramaturgy), Christine Adaire (Voice and Dialect Coach), Marcela Lorca(Movement), Russell W. Johnson (Production Stage Manager), Jason Clusman (Assistant Stage Manager) and Anthony Nelson (Assistant Director).
Arsenic and Old Lace begins preview performances on April 9, opens April 15 and continues through June 5, 2011, on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. Single tickets start at $24 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, 612.225.6244 (Group Sales) and online at www.guthrietheater.org.
The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joe Dowling, Director) was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1963 and is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training. The Tony Award-winning Guthrie Theater is dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature, developing the work of contemporary playwrights and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. With annual attendance of nearly 500,000 people, the Guthrie Theater presents a mix of classic plays and contemporary work on its three stages. Under the artistic leadership of Joe Dowling since 1995, the Guthrie continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance. In 2006, the Guthrie opened its new home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms and dramatic public lobbies. www.guthrietheater.org
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