Arsenic and Old Lace


Writers: Joseph Kesselring


Show Information

Text And Format
Number of Acts
First Produced
Unit/Single Set, Contemporary
Time & Place
a house in brooklyn, 1940’s
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, High School, Ensemble Cast, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Star Vehicle Male
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes mature adult, elderly, adult, young adult characters


Mortimer Brewster is living a happy life: he has a steady job at a prominent New York newspaper, he’s just become engaged, and he gets to visit his sweet spinster aunts to announce the engagement. Mortimer always knew that his family had a bit of a mad gene -- his brother believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt and his great-grandfather used to scalp Indians for pleasure -- but his world is turned upside down when he realizes that his dear aunts have been poisoning lonely old men for years! When Mortimer’s maniacal brother, Jonathan. (who strangely now resembles Boris Karloff) returns on the night that the aunts were planning to bury the newest victim, Mortimer must rally to help his aunts and protect his fiancé -- all while trying to keep his own sanity. as well. An uproarious farce on plays involving murder, Arsenic and Old Lace has become a favorite amongst regional theatres throughout America.

Lead Characters

Arsenic and Old Lace guide sections