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Arsenic and Old Lace

Arsenic and Old LaceOctober 23 - November 10
by Joseph Kesselring

Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service Inc.

The famous comedy written by Joseph Kesselring became best known for the film adaptation starring Cary Grant and directed by Frank Capra.  This classic farce follows two charming and innocent elderly women who populate their cellar with the remains of socially and religiously “acceptable” roomers; the antics of their brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt; and the activities of the other brother. Of the twelve plays written by Kesselring, Arsenic and Old Lace, which opened on Broadway in 1941, is the most successful.  According to the opening night review in the New York Times, the play was “ so funny that none of us will forget.”

Director Notes
Cast Bios
Production Staff Bios
Theme Dinners
Arsenic and Old Lace Press Release
Read a recent article about Arsenic and Old Lace from the South Bend Tribune
Read a recent review of Arsenic and Old Lace from The Papers

Amish Acres

Amish Acres


Arsenic and Old Lace
Archive Photographs


A Note from the Director…

Arsenic and Old Lace has always been a favorite of mine. I first saw the Frank Capra directed movie when I was 8 years old and immediately fell in love with classic black and white movies. The play first appeared in 1941 and ran for 1,444 performances, quite a feat for a play at the start of World War II. The show became so popular that Hollywood decided to make it into a movie with much of the original Broadway cast; however, producers of the play were nervous about their stars leaving the show for that long so they insisted that famous horror actor Boris Karloff remain in the show to insure that tickets would still be sold. The story is not your typical farce but what’s referred to as a black farce where the humor relies on the presentation of distasteful ideas, such as death by poisoning, in such a way that the audience forgets to be appalled. Arsenic and Old Lace has stood the test of time, and is as funny now as when it was written. I have long loved this play, and have had a great time directing it. Enjoy the show!

Matthew C. Scott


Arsenic and Old Lace Cast


Abby Brewster

Dr. Pamela Chabora

Rev. Dr. Harper

Shelby Tyler Nichols

Teddy Brewster

Don Hart

Officer Brophy

Trent Loggins

Officer Klein

Ramaad Morris

Martha Brewster

Rita Kurtz

Elaine Harper

Angie Fisher

Mortimer Brewster

Joe Ford

Mr. Gibbs

Ramaad Morris

Jonathan Brewster

Rory Dunn

Dr. Einstein

Timothy Leonard

Officer O'Hara

Evan Jackson

Lieutenant Rooney

Matthew C. Scott

Mr. Witherspoon

Shelby Tyler Nichols


Arsenic and Old Lace Staff


Executive Producer

Richard Pletcher

Associate Producer

George Bush

Artistic Director

Jeremy Littlejohn


Matthew C. Scott

Production Stage Manager/Props

Monica Gauer

Company Manager

Timothy Leonard


Christopher Lidl


Olivia Ciupak

Costume Designer

Amber Burgess

Set Designer

Richard Pletcher

Lighting Designer

Jeremy Littlejohn

Master Carpenter

Gary Balogh

Box Office Manager

Jennifer Scheffer

Archive Videographer

Steve Jones


Time & Place: The entire action of the play takes place in the living room of the Brewster home in Brooklyn; the present



Act I

Scene 1 An afternoon in September


Scene 2 The same night


Act II

Scene 1 Later that night


Scene 2 Early the next morning



Arsenic and Old Lace Cast Bios

Dr. Pamela Chabora (Abby) recently served in her sixth and last season at Theatre West Virginia as a Master Teacher and Principal Performer playing Sarah McCoy in Hatfields & McCoys, Delia in Honey in the Rock and the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. She also just closed a run of A Murder Is Announced where she portrayed the iconic Miss Marple with Acadia Repertory Theatre on Mount Desert Island, ME. For over thirty years, Chabora has maintained a career in professional theatre as a performer and director/choreographer. Favorite roles include Daisy in Driving Miss Daisy, Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, Eulalie Shinn in The Music Man, Miss Lynch in Grease, Ethel in Footloose, Mayor Matilda in All Shook Up, Miriam in Hidden, and Emily Dickinson in the one woman show, The Belle Of Amherst which toured nationally. Chabora has also just returned from a 2011/2012 national tour playing Yente and then Golde, in Fiddler On The Roof. See or for more information. 

Rory Dunn (Jonathan) is happy to be back at The Round Barn Theatre for his 3rd year. This year he is able to finally fulfill a life-long dream by showing the world he isn't afraid to play the Cowardly Lion! Recently, Rory wed the love of his life, you knew her as Emily Baer, and loved doing it 37 more times in the recent production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. 


Angie Fisher (Elaine) is a recent graduate of the BFA Music Theatre program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She appeared in many productions there including Judy in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Joanne in Rent, Irene in Crazy for You and April in Company. Professional credits include Kitty in The Drowsy Chaperone and Judy in A Chorus Line at McLeod Summer Playhouse.

I would like to thank my family and friends for the six and a half hour drive it takes to be here to see me!



Joe Ford (Mortimer) was born and raised in Elkhart, Indiana and received a BFA in Musical Theatre from Western Michigan University. He appeared in his first of many Round Barn Theatre productions in 1996. Joe has spent the last eight years living in Chicago, where he's worked on dozens of productions both as an actor and administrator. He's always happy to return to the RBT stage, and even happier to be working again with two of his best friends, Jeremy and Matt. He's most happy, however, to be the son of Margo and Larry- the best parents ever.



Don Hart (Teddy) is pleased to be back at The Round Barn Theatre! Favorite RBT roles include Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance, Henry in The Fantasticks, Eddie in Pump Boys and Dinettes, Isaac in Plain and Fancy, and most recently, Papa Yoder in this season’s production of Plain and Fancy. Don has also performed as John Denver in Almost Heaven at Pines Dinner Theatre in Allentown, PA, Johnny Cash in Ring of Fire at Derby Dinner Theatre in Clarksville, IN, and Gerald Drimmond in There Goes The Bride at Sierra Repertory Theatre in Sonora, CA.
Love ya, Crystal!



Evan Jackson (O’Hara) is very glad to be back at The Round Barn Theatre for his third year. He has previously appeared in The Odd Couple, A Christmas Carol, Plain & Fancy, and Miracle on 34th Street

I would like to thank you all for coming and for your continued support of the arts!




Rita Kurtz (Martha) feels a little like this play is going home. She was born and raised in Brooklyn (and Staten Island) and while doing theatre in New York, she had the privilege of working with her dear friend, the late Bill Preston, who happened to have played Mr. Gibbs in a Broadway revival of Arsenic and Old Lace in 1986. He was an inspiration because he did not begin working professionally as an actor until the age of 47 having spent most of her adult life as a math teacher. Acting is a second career for Rita as well.  She was last seen at The Round Barn Theatre as Mama Lilly in Hank Williams: Lost Highway. Other RBT credits include Our Town, Lost in Yonkers and Steel Magnolias.

I dedicate this performance to Bill Preston and hope that it makes him and the audience smile. Thanks to Doug and my family for their unconditional love and support!

Timothy Leonard (Einstein / Company Mgr) attended Florida School of the Arts for Musical Theatre before moving on to the National Tour of A Christmas Carol in 2008. Since then he has performed in such shows as Oklahoma!, Smoke on the Mountain, and various children’s theatre projects. In 2011, Timothy began performing here at The Round Barn Theatre where he has enjoyed playing a diverse assortment of roles including Judge Heppenstall in State Fair, Vinnie in The Odd Couple and Hank in Hank Williams: Lost Highway among others. When asked about his continued work here at Amish Acres, he said: “We’re a family, the audience and community feel that way to me. I recognize many faces each season, and do my utmost to give them an enjoyable experience every time they visit.”

Trent Loggins (Brophy) hails from Morris, AL where he recently graduated with a BFA from the University of Montevallo. Trent loves good food and good times with friends. Regional favorites include Ralph Malph in Happy Days in Ohio, Rev. Shermerhorn in Unto These Hills in NC, and most recently, Pa Lincoln in Young Abe Lincoln in Alabama.
Thanks to Mom, Dad, Mason and Lindley for their endless love and support. Roll Tide!


Ramaad Morris (Klein) is so excited to be returning for a full season with The Round Barn Theatre! Some of his credits include: It’s a Wonderful Life as the Follie artist , Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey II, No No Nanette asBilly Early, Book Of Days as Boyd Middleton, Arsenic and Old Lace as Jonathan, Parade asJim Conley, Frankie Lymon (Original Piece, one man show). He would first like to thank Amish Acres for bringing him back to such a magical place, and making him feel at home. His grandma Martha, for always pushing him to go the distance. Lastly, to his partner in crime, Andrew. You are always at the starting line and somehow manage to greet me at the finish. You’re a wizard and I love you for that.

Enjoy the show!

Shelby Tyler Nichols (Rev. Harper) is from Southeastern Georgia, a graduate of Valdosta State University, and you may remember him as mean, Mr. Sawyer in last year's Miracle on 34th Street. He has just finished performing overseas for children learning English as a second language. Other credits include: Tom Sawyer in Big River, Carlos in Legally Blonde, Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees and Willard in Footloose.
I would like to thank family, friends, and the Big Guy upstairs!



Matthew C. Scott (Director / Rooney) is from Orbisonia, PA and has been a professional Actor / Director for 17 years. Some of his directing credits include Run For Your Wife at Cornwell’s Dinner Theatre, Forever Plaid at the Grace Theatre, and Plain and Fancy, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Miracle on 34th Street, and this season’s Church Basement Ladies 2: A Second Helping here at The Round Barn. Some of his favorite roles around the country include John Dickinson in 1776, George in She Loves Me, Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Trevor Graydon in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Reverend Mother in Nunsense A-Men, Hucklebee in The Fantasticks and the Baker in Into the Woods.



Arsenic and Old Lace Staff Biographies

Gary Balogh (Master Carpenter) was born in Ohio, and raised in Indiana north of Fort Wayne.  He studied Architectural Design, Civil Engineering and Surveying at Purdue University and Ivy Tech.  Prior to joining the Amish Acres team in 2012, Gary worked in the Construction field as a Heavy Equipment Operator.  He also has built sets for his church’s Bible School plays for several years.  He likes to build and fix “whatever”.

Amber Burgess (Costume Designer) is pleased to be returning to The Round Barn Theatre to design Arsenic and Old Lace after directing Sisters of Swing in 2012 and this season’s 9 to 5 the musical.  She has been involved in theatre (acting, costuming, and directing) since 1988. Amber studied musical theatre at Millikin University in Decatur, IL and also has a BA in Social Sciences (with an emphasis in theatre) from Ashford University. She is a member of the board of directors and a violist with the Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.  Directing/Technical Theatre credits include Anton in Showbusiness (Lighted Match Theater, Chicago), The Wizard of Oz (Provision Theatre Co, Chicago), Oklahoma (Joseph Jefferson Playmakers, ND), Show Boat, The Miracle Worker, and The Learned Ladies (Little Theatre, Jamestown, ND), and 45 Minutes from Broadway (Frontier Follies, Jamestown, ND). When not at the theatre she enjoys quilting, running, writing, or reading. Amber is originally from Jamestown, ND and now lives in Chicago with her dog Oxford. 

George Bush (Associate Producer) is a Nappanee native and proud graduate of Northwood High School! George began his work at Amish Acres as a trash collector at age 14 and spent much of his educational career (both high school and college) with Amish Acres as an intern, clerk in the hotel, Art Festival food runner and in retail.  George started a family in Muncie where he attended Ball State University and worked in the property development world for ten years. He returned to Nappanee in 2011, where he was named Chief Operating Officer for Amish Acres and Associate Producer for the Round Barn Theatre. He is extremely happy to have his family relocated back home and is looking forward to a wonderful 2013 season.

Olivia Ciupak (Wardrobe) hails from Morrow, Ohio and is a graduate of Sinclair Community College. She enjoys combining imagination and real world inspiration into eclectic costume and make-up designs, working backstage, and playing with her family’s five chickens. One day, Olivia would love to own her own costume shop!

Monica Gauer (Production Stage Manager) had so much fun stage managing last year; she decided to stick around for another year! Monica grew up in Laporte, Indiana (surrounded by friends and family), then graduated from the University of Southern Indiana (where she made new friends), after which she got married (turning her best friend into her family), and now she is helping to build a bigger Round Barn family (and she hopes you will become part of it).  When she isn’t busy around the Acres she loves to read, watch cartoons and listen to stories…and storytelling is what theater is all about!  So relax and enjoy a story that Monica and her Round Barn family are about to tell you.

Christopher Lidl (Sound) is a Show Production Specialist from Pawling, NY. He won an award for Excellence in Theatre at Trinity Pawling School in 2008. He attended Full Sail University down in Orlando where he has a Bachelor’s Degree in Show Production.  When he is not in the theater, he enjoys bike riding, hiking and socializing.

Jeremy Littlejohn (Artistic Director) is a native Hoosier who is thrilled to be celebrating his fifth season as Artistic Director for the RBT.  Jeremy has worked at Amish Acres in three different decades both on the Joseph Stein Stage and in the Historic Area.  He is probably remembered for his performance credits, but is most proud of introducing straight plays to the Round Barn audience by way of the Second Stage.  He has logged nearly 800 performances of Plain and Fancy playing all of the male roles, and directed the show five times; including the 20th Anniversary season.  Some of his other directing projects include Nunsense, The Glass Menagerie, Bye Bye, Birdie, Miss Nelson is Missing, Driving Miss Daisy, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Lost in Yonkers, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Kiss Me Kate, Guys and Dolls (with Bethel College), and his Masterwork, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.  In addition to being an Actor / Director, Jeremy is also an accomplished Lighting Designer, Stage Manager and Teacher.

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.”  - G.K. Chesterton

Richard Pletcher (Executive Producer) founded Amish Acres with his father LaVern in 1968. The Amish farm was preserved and restored and is now listed in The National Register of Historic Places. Following a one year experiment in dinner-theatre with George Bledsoe in 1971, he added musical theatre to the interpretation of the historic farm by producing Plain and Fancy in the Locke Township Meeting House in 1986. It moved to The Round Barn Theatre in 1991. The play has been running for 26 consecutive years having surpassed 3,700 performances before audiences of over 355,000 people. Plain and Fancy’s Tony Award® winning author Joseph Stein and Tony Award® winning composer Albert Hague have attended Plain and Fancy at Amish Acres.

At Joseph Stein’s urging, Amish Acres became a regional musical repertory theatre in 1996 with the addition of five shows in rotation with Plain and Fancy each season. Amish Acres has now produced nearly one hundred Broadway musicals and The Round Barn Theatre stage is named for and dedicated to Joseph Stein. Seven of Mr. Stein’s musicals have been produced on his stage, including Plain and Fancy, Fiddler on the Roof, The Baker’s Wife, and Zorba, plus staged readings of Take Me Along, Rags and a second stage production of Enter Laughing.  

In October of 2006, Dick and his wife Susan were guests of Joseph and Elisa Stein in New York City for the York Theatre’s Mufti Series production of Plain and Fancy, the last in a month long, three show festival of Stein’s work that included Take Me Along and Carmelina. Artistic Director James Morgan recognized Amish Acres’ 20 year production of Plain and Fancy in the program and in his introductions from the stage. The Pletcher’s and Jeremy Littlejohn attended the York’s presentation of the Oscar Hammerstein Lifetime Achievement Award in Musical Theatre to Joseph Stein in November of 2007.  Stein was further inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in February of 2008. He passed away in 2010 and the Joseph Stein Memorial Fund was created to provide free season tickets for children.


Arsenic and Old Lace
Theme Dinner: October 25

Each Round Barn theatre Musical production calls for a Theme Dinner and Wine Bar, a joyous celebration with menus written with tongue-in-cheek show references and double entendres, often obscure and ridiculous. the responsibility for such frivolity rest solely with Richard Pletcher. The ensuing menus are lovingly prepared by chef Ruth Miller whose sense of humor make it into it kettle and skillet.

Theme Dinner reservations required. 
For reservations call (800) 800-4942.

Try it if You Dare!

Menu Includes:

Cyanide Soup with Pinch of Parsley

Honeymoon Ham Crocettes
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Crazy Brother's Mixed Up Salad

Levity Bread
Pumpkin Bread with Pumpkin Butter

Teddy's T-Bone Steak
Salmon Patties
Cured (Old) Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

Unravelled Spaghetti Casserol

Brewster's Broccoli with Cheese
Butternut Squash and Brown Sugar

Elderberry Cobbler
Mystery Pie
Monster Cookies
Old White Laced Cake
Ruth's Famous Crème Brule'

Spiked Elderberry Wine
Iced Tea, Lemonade, Coffees
Beer and Wine available for purchase