Community theater group sets performance of ‘Tea and Arsenic’

January 23, 2019 GMT

BULLHEAD CITY — The play “Tea and Arsenic” is coming to Fox Creek Junior High School at 3101 Desert Sky Blvd. in Bullhead City. The production by The River Cities Community Theater is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 22 and 23 and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 23 and 24.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.rcctp.org or at the box office at 1865 Lakeside Drive. For further information, call 928-299-6057.

With the auditions over, the RCCTP has started practicing for its upcoming play.

Director Brian Burns said 25 people auditioned for 12 roles.

“For this community theater, that was a huge number and we only want to see that number grow,” said Burns. “I had a lot of options to choose from, which is something that we really haven’t had.”

“The play is set in a New England mansion that has turned into a boarding house which is in much need of fixing,” Burns said. “We are going to have a basic living room as the set and that’s where the entire show takes place.”

As a stage manager, Toni Flora doesn’t have to worry about changing sets since the entire play just uses the one main set.

“Being a stage manager, I got to pick up on what little props everybody’s going to need and where the actors enter and exit,” said Flora. “An important thing about props is we need to have a place where they are going to go so they can be easily accessed. This is my second time being a stage manager since I did it in my local theater where I grew up. I’m getting to know more technical aspects of theater now and so I decided to give this a try and I’m excited.”

“Tea and Arsenic” is a mystery comedy that is a spoof of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” a popular movie that came out in 1944 and featured movie stars Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane and Raymond Massey.

“I haven’t been in a play for a year but I had the acting bug,” said Eddie Bak. “So I auditioned for this play and I got a role.”

Bak portrays Barney Cook, a character he called a professional fibber.

“My character is dishing out compliments to everybody for anything all the time. I know that he would wear a lot of people out very quickly,” said Bak. “He’s a smooth talker and tries to portray himself as a ladies man.”

Doreen Hansen said that the first time she auditioned for a play was in high school, where she delivered a monotonous audition with the script in her hand and didn’t get cast. Five years ago, she happened to be in a place where RCCTP was having auditions.

“It was a hillbilly play and since my dad is from Kentucky I had the accent down,” said Hansen. “I got the script and read a couple of plays and I got the part of MoMo. ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ is one of my favorite movies of all time, so when I found out that they were performing the play I quickly auditioned and I was able to get a part.”

Hansen portrays Miss Crump, who owns the mansion-turned-boarding house.

“The boarding house was passed down from my great-great-great-grandfather,” said Hansen, sharing the backstory of Miss Crump. “Mrs. Fern (played by Nancy Siemsen) and I met on a cruise shortly after Mrs. Fern’s husband died. Since I had this big house I needed help running it, so I asked Mrs. Fern to move in with me. Miss Crump has never been married, she is very naive, yet she still is a little skeptical about some things and is very much into her family’s history.”

Vincent Lee got started at Mohave High School performing in a couple of musicals.

“On stage, I never got the lead role and I was always a backup support role,” said Lee. “But I loved acting on stage and I loved that I was able to be someone else rather than myself during the performance. After high school, I didn’t really get the opportunity to go back on stage and I didn’t even know we had a community theater until about three years ago when I got invited to audition by Brian and got cast in the lead role for that play.

“When I heard that they were putting on this play I jumped on the opportunity to audition and I’m excited that I got a part.”

Lee is portraying Jerry Parks and, according to Lee, Jerry needs some serious help with his social skills.

“When he talks to people, he is super straight-forward and comes off as cold-hearted,” said Lee. “Jerry prefers his studies and laboratory set to actual people.”

Karen Baudouine said she was exposed to theater at a young age when her grandparents took her to see “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.“

“As a child, I always had an active imagination and I got to do a little theater in high school,” said Baudouine. “I love that we have a theater troupe going here because I get to express my creative side.”

Baudouine is playing Maggi, who is Miss Crump’s niece, and Baudouine described her character as easily jumping to conclusions.

Carol Hougdahl and Ed Hougdahl are snowbirds from Wisconsin who have been doing community theater for 20 years. When they found out there was a community theater in the Tri-state and their schedules aligned, they quickly auditioned.

“When we got out here we discovered this little community theater,” said Carol. “Three years ago we auditioned and got a part in ‘The Butler Did It’ but, since then, it’s never worked out for us to be in a play. Since this play is going to be in February, we were excited to audition and we are happy to get the part.”

Carol Hougdahl is playing Babs Cook (Barney’s wife). She said Babs is very much a ding-a-ling. Ed Hougdahl is playing Muckley, a cop who is not very bright but thinks he’s a tough guy.

Michael G. Wright plays the character of Muckley’s superintendent “Boss” who leaves Muckley in charge of everything.

Dave Newland plays Murphy and, according to Newland, Murphy is a tax assessor who is a “yes man.”

Donna Duncan plays dancer Isadora McCullvey.

“Isadora eats, breaths, sleeps and dreams of being a professional dancer. She’s fabulous,” said Duncan. “In her own mind, she is well trained.”

Kristina Irwin, playing Maggie’s friend, June, said that her character is a college student and is a bit of a scaredy-cat.

The cast and crew of “Tea and Arsenic,” as well as director Burns, all agreed they would like the audience seeing the play to have fun, laugh and be intrigued. They said they want the audience to wonder who was the culprit during the show and be shocked by the final reveal.

To follow the progress of the cast and for updates on the show, like the Facebook page of the River Cities Community Theater Players.