Opelika Theatre Company to open “Arsenic and Old Lace” next weekend

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By Lofton Wheeles
for the Opelika Observer

Opelika Theatre Company will be presenting the play “Arsenic and Old Lace” on Feb. 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. The show is a dark comedy that takes place in the early 1940s and revolves around a loving, dysfunctional family and the skeletons hiding in their closet, or in the case of the Brewster family, the attic.

“Love is the theme of the show,” said Doug Bendinger, who portrays Dr. Harper in the show. “The Brewster family just has a different way of showing it.”

Opelika Theatre Company is excited and looking forward to putting on the show and entertaining the Opelika community.

“Honestly, I think Opelika is going to love it,” said Kaytlan Casares, who portrays Lt. Rooney in the show. “It’s a classic, it’s appropriate for family, the characters are very likeable and it’s fun for the family.”

The show is also the first theatre production Becky Boots, who portrays Aunt Martha Brewster, has ever appeared in. “It’s been fun meeting new people and stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new,” she said.

The show also features a known public figure in Lee County. Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones portrays Mr. Witherspoon, the superintendent of Happy Dale Sanitarium, in his second production with Opelika Theatre Company.

“I’ve always had an interest in theatre since I was in junior high.” Jones said. “So when I was approached for the show, I was thrilled. It’s a privilege that they allow me to be involved because the cast is so talented. The theatre company is one of the things that make Opelika a great place.”

Opelika Theatre Company also hopes to put on a program that gives the Opelika community an escape from what’s going on in the world.

“This is our opening show for the season,” said Opelika Theatre Company Executive Director Marty Moore. “Everyone suffered greatly last year with this horrible pandemic. We are one of the few theaters who’ve been able to reopen using social distancing guidelines with our audiences and cast. I think people are ready to ease out and try to regain some normalcy to their lives.”

“They miss things like theatre, concerts and festivals. This will give them the opportunity to step out of their box and something to enjoy. And it’s also a great date idea for Valentine’s Day weekend.”

The show will also have the option of being live-streamed on Feb. 19.

“When you order tickets through Venmo or PayPal, you need to state on the order it’s for the live stream,” Moore said. “You will be sent a link, afterward, that will activate the live stream before the show starts.”

The show will open on Feb. 19 at the Southside for the Arts. Tickets for the show are $20. Opelika Theatre Company’s Venmo is @opelikatheatrecompany and their PayPal is opelikatheatrecompany1@gmail.com. The show will follow social distancing guidelines set by the CDC regarding seating, face coverings and sanitation.

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