Arsenic & Old Lace cast brings Brooklyn to Cordova

Weekend play fills Northstar Theatre

Dustin Marchant, as Mortimer Brewster, and Shannon Mallory, as Abby Brewster, perform a scene in Arsenic & Old Lace, presented by Stage of the Tide, on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Northstar Theatre.

Within minutes after two heavy, red curtains parted ways the audience began laughing, and didn’t let up until the curtains closed nearly two and a half hours later.

On March 2 and 3, Stage of the Tide presented “Arsenic & Old Lace” before a packed theater. Nearly every seat at the North Star Theatre was taken on the show’s final night as the cast of 15 took the stage.

Laughter from every corner of the theatre filled the room as the 1940s apparel and décor filled the stage.

“Arsenic & Old Lace” is a thriller-comedy written by American playwright Joseph Kesselring in 1939 that takes place in a Brooklyn, N.Y. home.

The audience burst into laughter every time Derek Hammer, who played Teddy Brewster, yelled, “CHARGE!” and ran up the stage staircase.

Towards the end of the play, Officer O’Hara, played by Gayle Groff, stepped onto the stage to a round of applause. Sisters Abby and Martha Brewster, played by Shannon Mallory and Katie Goodale, had the crowd laughing as they offered their elder guests homemade elderberry wine, spiked with arsenic.

As the play concluded, the cast took bows and the room again filled with applause. Dustin Marchant, who played Mortimer Brewster, surprised producer/director Barclay Kopchak with a gift from the cast.

Eventually, the crowd spilled into the lobby of the Cordova Center where members of the cast lined the stairs, waiting to greet the crowd.

Friends pointed out Gayle Groff’s stage makeup, including a fake mustache, as they talked and laughed. Maston Johnson’s crow’s feet and other wrinkles, drawn on with brown and gray stage makeup, sat boldly on his face as he talked with family.

Slowly, the Cordova Center felt modern again as Brooklyn accents and stage make up wore off.

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Emily Mesner is a staff reporter and photographer for The Cordova Times. Reach her at emesner@thecordovatimes.com. Emily graduated from Central Michigan University, earning a degree in photojournalism with a cultural competency certificate. She first visited Alaska in 2016, working as a media intern for the National Park Service in Kotzebue and Denali National Park and Preserve, and has been coming back ever since. To see more photos, follow @thecordovatimes and @emilymesnerphoto on Instagram.