Arsenic and Old Lace Character Descriptions

ARSENIC & OLD LACE

Cast List / Character Description

Abby Brewster (Female 50-70 years old) A darling lady, and the very model of Victorian charm and grace, who poisons elderly gentlemen, with her sister as an act of charity. She and her sister Martha seem to be the absolute embodiment of the values and polite society of a bygone age. More dominant, and a bit older than Martha, both ladies are happy, healthy, lucid, and spry. The Aunt to Teddy, Jonathan, and Mortimer.

Martha Brewster (Female 50-70 years old) Very sweet, but more submissive than Abby, Martha still is a strong woman. She and her sister have lived together for many, many years. Their personalities and pecking order around each other have been firmly rooted for eons. Always wears a high collar. The Aunt to Teddy, Jonathan, and Mortimer.

Mortimer Brewster (Male 30-50) Nephew of Abby and Martha, brother to both Teddy and Jonathan Brewster. A very likable character, Mortimer is a drama critic who is in love with, & engaged to Elaine Harper. A good-hearted cynic who is about to have his world turned upside down.

Teddy Brewster (40-60) Very likable, kindhearted brother to Mortimer and Jonathan, Nephew of Abby and Martha Brewster, Teddy is a man who believes that he is the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

Jonathan Brewster (40-60) Nephew of Abby and Martha Brewster, brother to Teddy and Mortimer. Jonathan is a psychopath who has numerous murders to his credit and no scruples whatsoever. He is creepy. As a child, he practiced his fondness for inflicting inhumane suffering on others with his brother Mortimer. Jonathan is a killer, that loves his business and he’s got an unbelievably short temper. Dr. Einstein has changed Jonathan’s face three times, currently resulting in a Boris Karloff resemblance (to which he is a bit sensitive.)

Dr. Einstein (45-55) A German plastic surgeon, with an accent to prove it. Right hand to Jonathan, Dr. Einstein is mousey and submissive to Jonathan. Einstein should be viewed as a good guy whose life has gone bad. With somewhat of a ratty appearance, his face wears the benevolent smirk of a man who lives in a pleasant haze of alcohol.

Elaine Harper (25-40) An attractive girl, daughter of Rev. Dr. Harper, and Mortimer’s fiancée. She is surprisingly wise in the ways of the world for a minister’s daughter. She is a little bit wily, sassy, and absolutely sharp We witness Elaine progress from casual happiness, to utter bliss, to twisted confusion, to stark fear, to godsend relief, and back to casual happiness again.

The Rev. Dr. Harper (50-70) (Small part) We only see Elaine Harper’s father in the opening scene; a doctor of divinity, and the minister to the church next door to the Brewster house. The Brewster sisters have seen many ministers come and go over the years, but they seem to be particularly fond of Dr. Harper and vise versa. Dr. Harper should display a sense of polish, refinement, and mild mannered sensitivity towards others. He is not in favor of Mortimer and Elaine’s relationship.

Officer Brophy (25-45) (Small part) The first police officer we meet in the show, Brophy is a thoroughly likable sort of fellow. Is making his rounds collecting Christmas toys for the needy.

Officer Klein (25-45) (Small part) A flatfoot Brooklyn officer who makes his rounds with Officer Brophy collecting Christmas toys.

Officer O’Hara (30-55) (Small part) He is the quintessential example of an Irish-American police officer: Full of life, good natured and played big. He is on very good terms with the Aunts. O’Hara is a would-be playwright, and needs to plainly display the nagging, persistent drive that’s kindled within him once he discovers that Mortimer is a famous dramatic critic. Well intentioned, O’Hara really doesn’t mean to come across as annoying as he does.

Mr. Gibbs (55-80) (Small part) An elderly gentleman who wishes to rent a room from the Brewster sisters; and nearly falls victim to the sisters “charity”. He is a little gruff, but he warms up fairly quickly upon being offered a treat he hasn’t had since he was a child.

Lieutenant Rooney (50’s) (Small part) The man in charge at the local police precinct. Very early in the show we gaina pretty strong understanding of the caliber of men he has to manage under his watch. As such, he has very little patience for blunder and mistakes, and needs to run a pretty tight ship. He is loud, decisive, and clearly in-charge of every situation in which he finds himself.

Mr. Witherspoon (50-60’s) (Small part) The superintendent of Happy Dale Sanitarium. Very mild mannered and kind.