Enjoy some ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ next weekend at the Bonnie Kate

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, October 6, 2022

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By Angela Cutrer
Elizabethton Star
The Bonnie Kate Theater opened in 1926 and many older residents of the community surely hold fond memories of the theater’s glory days.
Now, after several years of renovation work, the Bonnie Kate will once again open its doors to spotlight a classic play, thanks to a new organization created to support artistic skill in the local community.
From Oct. 14-16 and 21-23 at the Bonnie Kate, visitors will get be transformed into another place and time while enjoying some great acting, said Marcia Ross, director of “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
“We are really excited to be doing this and the cast has worked hard,” she said of the comedy by Joseph Kesselring. “And they are quite good! A lot of people have put in a great deal of work to bring this to the area.”
The play has a setting of 1941 and presents the story of the charming, innocent and elderly Brewster sisters as they engage in unusual acts of charity. They help lonely old men to find eternal peace, and bury them in the cellar of their Brooklyn, N.Y., home.
Sharing this home is their nephew, who firmly believes he is Teddy Roosevelt. There are two other nephews, Mortimer, a big shot drama critic, and Jonathan, a homicidal maniac who has recently returned to Brooklyn.
Find out what happens when the bodies in the window seat start piling up. Mortimer must come up with a plan to keep his aunts out of jail and to keep everyone else safe from this entire family. As Mortimer says, “Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.”
Thanks to the Friends of the Bonnie Kate group (BKCT), which is a new entity that launched Bonnie Kate’s first-ever community theater group, theater leaders Ross, Robert Clark and Renee Christian banded together since they have all been actively involved with theater products and youth theater education.
BKCT’s very first season is being launched by the classic macabre comedy and will run with 7:30 p.m. presentations and 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sundays.
Ross was quick to compliment set designer Robert Clark’s work. “Oh, Robert did a great job in designing the Brewster Home,” she said. “It has stairs and landings – it’s pretty amazing.” A long-time educator, Clark uses his collective experiences as he works mainly with set design.
None of the performances would be possible, Christian said, without the support of the community and other state entities. “The Friends group is so diligent about raising funds to provide entertainment for their community,” she said. “So is the Tennessee Arts Commission, which was instrumental in getting grants. … Our community in Elizabeth was seeking an outlet for such creativity. There was an interest in performing arts and I was floored as to how much talent is in East Tennessee, especially in Elizabethton. They would have had to travel so far to perform, but thanks to the Bonnie Kate, they don’t have to.”
A second production, the hilarious musical “Seussical,” will follow in March 2023, with Christian directing. “Go to dinner and then come see the show,” Christian added. “Support local businesses that way and come see what we’ve done [as well]. Become a part of it and get excited about how far we can go.”
Tickets can be purchased online at www.bonniekate.org, at the Chamber of Commerce in Elizabethton or at the door.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children.
The Bonnie Kate is located at 115 S. Sycamore St.

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