Connecticut Theatre Company, recently named Best Connecticut Community Theatre in the 2015 BroadwayWorld Connecticut Awards, is opening their 2016 season with the comedic play Arsenic & Old Lace. The play, originally written in 1939 by Joseph Kesselring and turned into a movie released in 1944, tells the story of the Brewster family. Two spinster aunts, Abby and Martha, have taken to murdering elderly men as a charity, while their straight-lace nephew Mortimer tries to sort out the situation, his homicidal brother Jonathan shows up with some other plans.
The play has ties to Connecticut as it’s based on the real-life story of Amy Archer-Gilligan. Archer-Gilligan ran a convalescent home in Windsor, Connecticut at the start of the 20th century and it’s estimated that she murdered between 20-100 people during her time there. As authorities grew suspicious of all the deaths at the home, they found that Archer-Gilligan had purchased large quantities of arsenic. She maintained it was just to kill the rats. At trial she pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree, carrying a life sentence and in 1924 she was transferred to a mental hospital where she remained until her death in 1962.
The play takes on the story in comedic fashion letting the audience see just how insanity runs through the Brewster family. It stars 13 local actors and actresses including: JoAnn Dewind of Berlin, Marianne Hebenstreit, Daniel Collin, Duane Campbell and Jon Kott of New Britain, Johnny Revicki of Manchester, David Nunner of Naugatuck, Heather Sauer of Branford, David Walton of Cromwell, Buck Biestek and Alex Biestek of Middletown, Fred Schipul of Harwinton, and Austin Carnes of Southbury.
Arsenic and Old Lace runs for two weekends, March 4th – March 13th. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7pm and Sunday afternoons at 2pm. Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online at www.connecticuttheatrecompany.org or bought at the door. All performances are held at the historic Repertory Theatre in New Britain.