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Theatre presents Joseph Kesselring’s ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’

April 7, 2018

The second production of Emporia State University Theatre’s spring season is Joseph Kesselring’s 1940 farcical black comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace.”  Featuring a man who thinks he is Theodore Roosevelt, homicidal old women and a drama critic trying to get married, the show is a classic example of the comedy that stems from a normal person attempting to survive in a world of absurd circumstances.

Jim Bartruff will be directing the production, and is thrilled to bring a classic comedy to the stage. “We live a time when news headlines shock or challenge us every day. ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ does not take life so seriously. The play celebrates our many flaws but remains popular because of its outrageous charm and the essential humanity of its characters,” Bartruff said.

The absurd and dark humor of the show is written to evoke contagious laughter from audiences. Technical Director (and ESU Alum) Chris Lohkamp is featured in the cast as Teddy Brewster. The set is designed by Nancy Pontius with costumes by Amanda Dura. Junior Matt Mahr (Overland Park) is the lighting designer.

The “Arsenic and Old Lace” acting company also includes Miranda Kimble (junior, Mullinvillle), Tim Hardman (junior, Wichita), Evan Grantham (junior, Girard), Emily Rayson (freshman, Ottawa), Rachel Muirhead (senior, Hayes), Sydney Main (graduate student, Emporia), Andrew Ralston (junior, Topeka), Ben Johnson (freshman, Wichita), Dustin Bittel (senior, Ellis), Hewleek McKoy (junior, Olathe), Cameron Webb (freshman, Shawnee), Stephen Holbert (junior, Olathe) and Lucas Coble (freshman, Olpe).

Abbi Timmermeyer (senior, Andover) and Tad Gilbert (senior, Andover) are the stage managers.  Members of the production team include McKenzie Needham (freshman, Andover), Justin Scheck (junior, Gardner), Roman Haen (senior, Lee’s Summit, MO), Maddie Simmons (freshman, Emporia), Katie Pelegrin (junior, Olathe), Hannah Lingard (freshman, Topeka), Paige Maley (senior, Burlington), Mollie McClanahan (sophomore, Topeka), Yerim Noh (Pohang, South Korea), Zulema Renteria (junior, Emporia), Cassidy Tilden (senior, Topeka), Alayne Weber (senior, Topeka), Skylar McCall (freshman, Wathena), Trevor Molz (sophomore, Shawnee), Madison Joye Schultz (sophomore, Topeka), Cameron White (freshman, Meriden), Paige Lundin (senior, Wichita) and Mariah Ebert (freshman, Wamego).


Special guests will be featured as “victims” of the Brewster sisters when “Arsenic and Old Lace” plays in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre in King Hall from April 25-28. Curtain time for each of the four performances is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available from the University Ticket Office at or by calling 620-341-6378.



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