Auditions for “Arsenic and Old Lace” at Santa Paula Theater Center

September 21, 2011
Santa Paula News

The Santa Paula Theater Center announces open auditions for Joseph Kesselring’s classic American comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

Auditions will be held on Saturday, September 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Sunday, September 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Santa Paula Theater Center, 125 S. 7th Street.  

No appointments are necessary, just show up and sign in. Director Andrea Tate will take cold readings from the script, with sides available at the audition. Please bring a headshot and resume and your calendar to list any potential rehearsal conflicts. For more information please contact SPTC’s Primary Producer Leslie Nichols at 525-9840 or via email, This is a non-union production. There is no pay.

The year is 1941. The location is a small house next to a cemetery in Brooklyn. In this house live two kind, thoughtful, sweet old ladies, Martha and Abby Brewster, who have developed a very bad habit. It appears they murder lonely old men who have some sort of religious affiliation, and they consider doing it a charity. They then leave it to their bugle-blowing nephew Teddy (who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt) to take them to the Panama Canal (the cellar) and bury them. 

In this instance, the “poor fellow” suffering from “yellow fever” is found in the window seat. It is another of their nephews, Mortimer Brewster, a dramatic critic, who returns home only to find the man in the seat by mistake. 

Another nephew, Jonathan, returns to the home after years of fleeing the authorities due to his “unofficial practice” of killing people and using their faces to change his. However the results cause him to look like Boris Karloff (the mention of his similarity to the actor angers him) due to the poor craftsmanship of his German accented, alcoholic sidekick Dr. Einstein. 

As the story continues, we see each character trying to find resolve in their suddenly been flipped upside-down lives. Mortimer tries to keep his aunts safe and prevent them from continuing their nasty habit, while trying to stay sane with the woman he loves (Elaine Harper); the aunts try to continue their “charities”; and Jonathan tries to make a wealthy practice that is stationed inside the home.

Roles available include: The Brewster sisters - Martha and Abby (60s-70s), Mortimer Brewster (20s – 30s),  Elaine Harper (20s-30s), Teddy Brewster (30s-40s). Various other character males including Reverend Harper, Mr. Witherspoon, Mr. Gibbs, Officers Brophy, Kline and O’Hara and Lt. Rooney (30s-70s). The roles of Jonathan Brewster and Dr. Einstein have been already cast.

 “Arsenic and Old Lace” will play November 18 through December 18 at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $18 Adults, $15 Seniors & Students, and $12 Children, and can be reserved by calling 525-4645 or visiting

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