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'Arsenic and Old Lace' playing at Long Lake Theater in Hubbard

Mary Harrison, left, plays one of the lead characters, a spinster aunt named Abby Brewster, in "Arsenic and Old Lace," a comedy being presented now at Long Lake Theater. On the right is Arlene Valentin, who plays Martha Brewster.1 / 2
Bill Case, also of Wadena County, portrays Lt. Rooney in "Arsenic and Old Lace," which opened June 8.2 / 2

Long Lake Theater is celebrating its 10th summer season with "Arsenic and Old Lace," a mad-cap comedy by Joseph Kesselring.

"This year is Long Lake's 10th anniversary, and it's also 'Arsenic's' 70th anniversary," director Andrew Browers explained. "It's a big year for this theater, a big year for this show, and everyone is in for an enormous treat this summer."

Set in 1941 Brooklyn, "Arsenic and Old Lace" is a world-renowned farce about the eccentric Brewster family. It was a smash hit on Broadway that same year and remains a popular choice among community theaters seven decades later.

The cast of "Arsenic and Old Lace" includes many Long Lake Theater veterans, along with new faces. Mary Harrison and Arlene Valentin portray, respectively, Abby and Martha Brewster - two sweet, spinster aunts who are beloved in their genteel neighborhood for their many charitable acts. Their nephew, Mortimer, inadvertently discovers a secret they have buried in their cellar - a deadly secret for the lonely, old gentlemen who appear on the sisters' doorstep, looking for lodging. Can he hide this terrible knowledge from his new lovely fiancé, Elaine (Mackenzie Gatewood), and the local police (Sarah Schultz, Kayla Dahn, Rhoda Jackson and Bill Case)?

Further hilarious complications ensue when Mortimer's sinister brother (Bradley Livingston) returns home with his accomplice, Dr. Einstein (Joe Bolling), while another befuddled brother (Bob Boland) thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt.

Ed Bolton, as the Rev. Harper, and Herman Brocopp, as the director of an insane asylum, lend great humor to the show as well.

Browers, a Bemidji State University graduate of theatre and creative writing, makes his directorial debut at Long Lake Theater with this production. Last summer, Browers was a member of the trio performing "The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)."

"I admit that when I agreed to direct this production, I had my reservations - it's a huge show, it's very familiar and very dear to many theater lovers," said Browers. "But this cast of volunteer actors and technicians has been another dream come true. There's a lot of heart and a lot of dedication in community theater. Northern Minnesota is no less talented than the Twin Cities, and we have a lot to be proud of here in our neck of the woods."

Performances are Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. from June 8 to July 2. Tickets are $16 for adults, $8 for children (ages 4-12). To make reservations, call (218) 732-0099 or visit Tickets are also available at Beagle Books, Sister Wolf Books or at the door.

Ticket holders to the opening matinee are invited to a gala at Jewel of the Northwoods B&B following the show to mingle with the cast and enjoy light refreshments.