Arsenic and Old Lace Audition Form
Arsenic and Old Lace: A Staged Reading
By Joseph Kesselring
Directed by Saundra Stortz
Performances February 27- 28, 2020
Plattsburgh City Hall Rotunda
Auditions: November 14 and 16. See locations and times below.
SYNOPSIS: The story revolves around the theatre-hating drama critic Mortimer Brewster and his two sweet and thoughtful old aunts, Martha and Abby. On the same evening as Mortimer gets engaged to next door neighbor Elaine, he accidentally discovers that his dear aunts have developed a very bad habit: they poison lonely old men with their homemade elderberry wine (laced with arsenic, strychnine and a pinch of cyanide) in order to save them from the sorrows of this world. They then leave it to their crazy but harmless nephew Teddy (who believes he is President Teddy Roosevelt) to dig graves in the cellar for those “yellow fever casualties working on the Panama Canal.” Just as Mortimer tries to get a grip on this situation, his long lost murderous brother Jonathan reappears looking like Boris Karloff after a badly performed plastic surgery with his alcoholic accomplice Dr. Einstein and a dead body in tow. The seemingly idyllic Brewster home now finally turns into complete madhouse in which Mortimer has to try to save his sanity as well as his life.
Artistry’s reimagined production will be a “staged reading.” Actors will perform with book in hand and will not be required to memorize their entire parts. This will be a minimalist production with hand props, costumes, and blocking to suggest the comic movement and timing of more fully staged productions.
Actors will attend a read-through in early December and five rehearsals in the two weeks prior to performance. Please see Character descriptions below.
Two performances: Thursday and Friday, February 27 and 28, 2020, at 7 pm at Plattsburgh City Hall Rotunda.
Audition: Thursday, November 14, 2019 from 5-7 pm at the Plattsburgh Public Library Auditorium. 19 Oak St. Plattsburgh
Audition: Saturday, November 16, 2019 from 2-4 pm at AuSable Town Hall. 11 AuSable Street, Keeseville.
Fill in Audition Form below. Audition scenes will be sent to you prior to audition dates.
THE CHARACTERS OF ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
3f, 7m, plus 2 additional characters played by either f or m.
Abby Brewster: A darling lady in her sixties who poisons elderly men. Abby is the sister of Martha and an aunt to Teddy, Jonathan, and Mortimer.
Martha Brewster: A sweet elderly woman with Victorian charm who poisons elderly men, Martha is the sister of Abby and an aunt to Teddy, Jonathan, and Mortimer.
Elaine Harper: An attractive girl in her twenties and Mortimer’s fiancee, Elaine is the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Harper. She is surprisingly wise in the ways of the world for a minister's daughter.
Officer Brophy: A police officer. Played by either male or female.
Officer Klein: A police officer. Played by either female or male.
Mortimer Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha, Mortimer is a drama critic who is engaged to Elaine. He is a nice man who cares for his aunts.
Jonathan Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha Brewster, Jonathan is a psychopath who has had plastic surgery and now looks like Boris Karloff.
Dr. Einstein: A plastic surgeon and an alcoholic who is in his fifties, Dr. Einstein has changed Jonathan's face three times.
Teddy Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha Brewster, Teddy is a man in his forties who thinks that he is Theodore Roosevelt.
The Rev. Dr. Harper: Minister and father of Elaine.
Lieutenant Roony: A tough and dominating police officer
Same actor plays Dr. Harper and Lt. Roony.
Mr. Gibbs: A man who wishes to rent a room from the Brewster sisters.
Mr. Witherspoon: The superintendent of Happy Dale Sanitarium
Same actor plays Gibbs and Witherspoon
Officer O'Hara: A police officer. O’Hara is a would-be playwright who pesters Mortimer to read his play.
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Interested Role(s): See Character Descriptions Above
Briefly explain your performance experience or if you have an acting resume, please email directly to
Please provide a bio that if cast could be used for online promotion of the show (website, Facebook, etc.) and in the program. If you have a headshot, please email it to
Cast or not, are you interested in helping backstage?
Please list all conflicts February 13-28. In addition to an initial read through in early December, five rehearsals will take place during the two weeks before the performances. Be thorough when listing your availability. Actors will not be required to totally memorize their parts but should be familiar with their lines. Actors will carry book during performances.
Auditions will be held on November 14 and 16. Please select which date you can attend.
November 14. 5-7pm at Plattsburgh Public Library Auditorium
November 16. 2-4pm at AuSable Town Hall.
I cannot attend either date. (The director will email you.)
A copy of your responses will be emailed to the address you provided.
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This form was created inside of Artistry Community Theatre (ACT) Corp..