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The Show Must Go On

‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ set to open at Aldersgate this weekend.

Roland Gomez got the call at 4 p.m. on a Friday. The agency controlling the screenplays had not granted the rights to the script. Aldersgate Church Community Theater (ACCT) would not be able to produce “The Philadelphia Story” because it was running at The Kennedy Center. With the cast already selected, and rehearsals scheduled to begin, Gomez was stuck. The show was less than 30 days away.

“You don’t know how that hurt,” Gomez said.

It was suggested that Gomez direct “The Man Who Came to Dinner," the show that he’s scheduled to do next year, but it was too big of a show and he didn’t have time for casting and rehearsals. Remembering that this was the 15th anniversary of the theater, he thought, why not do the show that they opened with 15 years ago? And with that, he started calling the original cast of "Arsenic and Old Lace."

Most people had moved or were unavailable, but Bonnie Jourdan agreed to return and play Abby Brewster.

And then Gomez continued casting for the remaining parts.

“It’s so difficult to cast a show now. It’s hard to find people to work on the show, because there are so many other shows,” Gomez said.

Other issues presented themselves along the way — a couple of the actors didn’t show up, weather hindered rehearsals and they went over budget with the set, leaving them scrambling to pick up the pieces.

Yet, the show is scheduled to open on time, this Friday, March 4.

C. Evans Kirk has created a set depicting the home of New York journalist Mortimer Brewster’s eccentric relatives; this includes two sweet elderly aunts and childish Cousin Theodore.

The plot revolves around Mortimer's ne'er-do-well brother who appears with a sinister scientist in tow. Meanwhile, the bodies of lonely old gentlemen who formerly rented rooms from the aunts begin to appear in the basement where Cousin Theodore, who imagines he's Teddy Roosevelt, has been "digging the Panama Canal." Brewster investigates which of his dotty relatives might be guilty of crime, with hilarious consequences.