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Orrville Community Theater to present 'Arsenic and Old Lace'

The cast members for the upcoming production of "Arsenic and Old Lace" are Chris Ketler, Nathan Raines, Molly Crock, Trent Marshall, Brayden Rouston, Gavin Winkler, Adam Hile, Jonathan Martens, Shelly Rayborn, Emily Nulph, Joshua Rowe, Adam Cerrezuela and Joseph Gonzalez.


"People won't go away disappointed when they leave the theater," said Emily Nulph, who will play Aunt Abby in Orrville Community Theater's upcoming production of the 1939 classic dark comedy, "Arsenic and Old Lace." Most people know the play from the 1944 movie starring Gary Grant and directed by Frank Capra.
In this local production, which will be performed Sept. 15-17, Nulph has the rare opportunity of reprising the role she played in 1984 in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany.
"We were there for my husband's job," Nulph said. "We went around to different bases and performed these plays for the military. It was a wonderful experience."
Nulph has felt a connection with the character ever since her first introduction to Aunt Abby 30 years ago. "[Aunt Abby] is a part of me. I can't explain it," she said.
Though delighted to be playing Aunt Abby once again, Nulph explained it's a bit harder to memorize all the lines this time around (33 years later).
The Orrville actress has family flying in to see the play. "It's really exciting to me that I'm in this play. I can't believe I got the part," Nulph said.
For the actresses playing the two aunts, there is mutual admiration. Shelly Rayborn landed the role of Aunt Martha for the production. Speaking about Nulph, Rayborn said, "She truly is Aunt Abby. During the audition I was on stage with different pairings. When I was paired with Emily, it was magical. She made me Aunt Martha."
"We're a pair up there," Nulph said.
Rayborn was very active in theater and musicals in high school and is enjoying a return to her passion. The actress from Canal Fulton has been involved with the Canal Fulton Players for three years. She arrived for the Orrville rehearsal still in costume from a Canal Fulton matinee performance of "The Importance of Being Ernest."
When Rayborn found out about "Arsenic and Old Lace," she felt compelled to try out and was aiming for a role as one of the aunts.
"It was on my bucket list," she said. "I'm so tickled to be Aunt Martha. I'm very grateful I get to do this."
Molly Crock will play Elaine Harper, the fiancé. A veteran of the North Canton Playhouse, the actress took acting lessons growing up. "Broadway is my dream," she said.
Sam Gonzalez is directing the cast of 13 in the show with Tiffany Bird as co-director. This is Gonzalez's second time directing at the Orrville Community Theater.
"I'm always excited to tell a good story," Gonzalez said. "In 'Arsenic and Old Lace,' the comedy and timing are brilliant. It's super funny, a really solid show."
Gonzalez began with the local theater company in 2015 as an actor. "I just love being in theater," he said.
He said he loves everything about it, from the props, to the set, to breaking everything down to discover a character, but he also said directing is different than acting.
"With directing you have a broader view of the story," Gonzalez said. "Acting is a whole lot of fun, but you only have the capability of being in one character. As a director you have a much bigger experience and perspective."
For those who haven't seen the Frank Capra version, the play centers on a dysfunctional family. When Mortimer Brewster returns home to share the news of his engagement, he discovers his family is even odder than he thought.
In the upcoming production the diverse cast is from all over Northeast Ohio, from Canton to Chippewa Lake and all points in between.
"A lot of my cast have done multiple shows at multiple theater outlets," Gonzalez said. "Some of the characters they play are a bit abstract and different. It's a very interesting experience for them and a good educational experience for all of us. It's very fun to put on a show of this style and type."
"Arsenic and Old Lace" will be performed at Orrville Community Theater, 307 Hostetler Road, Orrville. All shows will begin at 7 p.m. There will be no Sunday matinee. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.
For information and tickets, call 330-439-2051 or go to www.orrvillecommunitytheater.org or www.facebook.com/orrvillecommunityplayers/. Tickets also may be purchased directly at form.jotform.us/72405052084145.
"We only have a few show dates," Gonzalez said, "so I hope everyone comes out to see it."
"It's hysterical," Nulph said. "It's a very funny, tender play and will touch your heart and inspire your laughter at the same time."

Published: September 8, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170909969