Classic Comedy "Arsenic & Old Lace" at Stagecrafters through April 28

Recipe for laughter contains "pinch of cyanide"

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) - Stagecrafters presents "Arsenic and Old Lace"

Mix absurd comedy with a bit of slap-stick and you get silly, which is just what Florkowski and his cast of characters offer in this Stagecrafters production, of Arsenic & Old Lace, running through April 28 th at the Baldwin Theatre in Royal Oak

Set in Brooklyn, NY, in 1941, charmingly sinister Brewster sisters, Abby (Debbie Landis-Sigler of Clawson) and Martha (Jean Garringer of Clarkston), find it morally acceptable to murder old men with arsenic-laced elderberry wine as an act of "charity." They discreetly dispose of the bodies with the help of their delusional nephew, Teddy (Dan Muldoon of Madison Heights). Teddy believes he's Teddy Roosevelt and is building the Panama Canal. He thinks the bodies are really yellow fever casualties so he buries them in the "canals" in the cellar!

Complications erupt when nephew and Teddy's brother, Mortimer (Scott Welborn of Troy) drops in for a visit only to discover his eccentric aunts have a gruesome hobby. Madcap events unfold when yet another nephew, the villainous Jonathan (Guy Copland of Berkley) and his wacky sidekick Dr. Einstein (Dan Rose of Berkley) decide to use the family home as a hideout. Add these characters together and mix in a few others to complete the perfect recipe for riotous theatre.

Director Jody Florkowski of Ferndale, has a nostalgic fondness for Arsenic and Old Lace. "Because of my family's involvement in the arts, I grew up in the theatre – literally – like in a playpen! Arsenic is one of my earliest memories and when the opportunity arose to direct it, I jumped at the chance," quips Florkowski.

Although this is the third time Stagecrafters has mounted the farcical black comedy in their 56 years of live theatre, Florkowski has found inspiration to "keep it fresh." "Directing is an art. I believe it's like painting a picture that moves with people. The cast, staging and delivery is all unique. We are giving the audience something they are expecting to see all the while giving them something they're not expecting to see," says Florkowski. 

Arsenic and Old Lace was originally penned by Joseph Kesselring under the title of "Bodies in Our Cellar" in 1939. Lovingly respected as America's favorite dark comedy, Arsenic and Old Lace was opened on January 10, 1941, and ran for 1,444 performances. Popularity of the show exploded with the 1944 film adaptation starring Cary Grant and Boris Karloff.

Advance tickets for performances are $16 on Thursdays, $18 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Patrons attending the opening night performance, April 12 th, are invited to attend the 7 pm pre-glow with light hors d'oeuvres and beverages being served. Student, military and senior discounts are available for specific performances.  Tickets may be purchased online at   (online handling fees apply) or by phone at 248-541-6430  using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved.  If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for an additional $2.00 per ticket.

Remaining Show dates and times:

Thursday, April 18                   8:00 pm                      

Friday, April 19                       8:00 pm                                  

Saturday, April 20                   8:00 pm                      

Sunday, April 21                     2:00 pm   

Thursday, April 25                   8:00

Friday, April 26                        8:00 pm

Saturday, April 27                   8:00 pm

Sunday, April 28                     2:00 pm


Arsenic and Old Lace Cast and Staff by Community


Dan Rose (Dr. Einstein)

Guy Copland (Jonathan)


David Lusk (Rev. Harper)


Jean Garringer (Martha)


Debbie Landis-Sigler (Abby)


Clif Levin (Mr. Gibbs)

Farmington Hills

Jeffery Nelson (Officer Klein)


Jody Florkowski (Director)


Keith Lepard (Mr. Witherspoon)

Grosse Pointe

Kristin Schultes (Elaine Harper)

Lake Orion

Greg Schueller (Officer O'Hara)

Madison Heights

Dan Muldoon (Teddy)

Royal Oak

Ed Berger (Lt. Rooney)

Linda Zublick (Producer)


John Cox (Officer Brophy)

Scott Welborn (Mortimer)