Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Vintage comedy ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ opens this week in De Pere

Critic At Large

Evergreen Productions

Myrna Dickinson, left, Brady DeGroot and Sandy Zochert rehearse a scene for Evergreen Productions’ “Arsenic and Old Lace.” (Company photo)


Evergreen Productions will present the comedy classic “Arsenic and Old Lace” in seven performances starting this week.

Performances in Webb Theatre of Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts at St. Norbert College are at 7 p.m. Feb. 14-15; 2 p.m. Feb. 16; 7 p.m. Feb. 20-21; and 2 and 7 p.m. Feb. 22. Evening performances are moved up a half-hour this season. Info: and

According to a press release: In the 1939 play by Joseph Kesselring, we meet the charming and innocent ladies (played by Sandy Zochert and Myrna Dickinson) who populate their cellar with the remains of socially and religiously “acceptable” roomers.  We see the antics of their nephew who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt (Glenn Sellen) and the activities of the other nephew (Brady DeGroot) as he tries to determine just how crazy his family is while managing to keep love in bloom (Katie Shonkwiler).

And then there is a deadly nephew (Andrew Delaurelle) and his “doctor” henchman (Jeremy Pelegrin).

The production is directed by Craig Berken with Kathy Schneider as assistant director.

Side note: This production has interlacing touches with the Green Bay Community Theater production of “Bus Stop,” which runs Feb. 20-March 1.

This from Dave Zochert, who is directing “Bus Stop”:

“Sandy (Zochert, his wife) is one of the leads in Evergreen’s ‘Arsenic and Old Lace.’ Thirty years ago, she played the ingenue for that play; now she’s one of the poisoner aunts. We are running the play only one week apart, so our plays will intersect for a weekend in February.

“Sandy is the set dresser for my play, Patricia Grimm, my production coordinator and CT’s theater manager, is dressing the Evergreen set.  

Craig Berken, a friend of mine and fellow United Methodist parishioner, is directing ‘Arsenic and Old Lace,’ and I’m directing ‘Bus Stop.’

“Craig’s co-worker in real life, Lina Green, is in my play ‘Bus Stop.’

“I cast a young woman for the Marilyn Monroe part in my play named Hanna DeGroot.  Her brother tried out for ‘Bus Stop’ as well – tryouts were the same two days. I didn’t cast the brother – they would have had to kiss on stage anyway, and that would be weird. Craig cast the brother as Mortimer in his play.”

The Zocherts will be seeing each other’s play as schedules allow.

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