Who is this strange man sitting in the Brewster home; a victim, a family member? You’ll have to come see for yourself when the Virgin Valley Theatre Group opens their newest production, Arsenic and Old Lace on Friday, Nov. 2 at the Mesquite Community Theatre. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Overture, curtains, lights; this is it, the night of nights. No more rehearsing and nursing a part; we know every part by heart. Overture, curtains, lights; this is it, we’ll hit the heights; and oh what heights we’ll hit. On with the show this is it.

You may know this tune as the Bugs Bunny Overture but every note, chord and word is ringing true for the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s cast members and director as they get ready to open their season’s first production, Arsenic and Old Lace.

The hero, Mortimer Brewster, is a drama critic who must deal with his crazy, homicidal family and local police in Brooklyn, New York, as he debates whether to go through with his recent promise to marry the woman he loves, Elaine Harper, who lives next door and is the daughter of the local minister.

His family includes two spinster aunts who have taken to murdering lonely old men by poisoning them with a glass of home-made elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and “just a pinch” of cyanide; a brother who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt and digs locks for the Panama Canal in the cellar of the Brewster home (which then serve as graves for the aunts’ victims; he thinks that they died of yellow fever); and a murderous brother who has received plastic surgery performed by an alcoholic accomplice, Dr. Einstein (a character based on real-life gangland surgeon Joseph Moran) to conceal his identity, and now looks like horror-film actor Boris Karloff (a self-referential joke, as the part was originally played on Broadway by Karloff).

This play written by Joseph Kesselring will keep your attention and make you very mindful of what libations you might want to accept from future hostesses; especially the wealthy, spinster ones.

The actors well-rehearsed and are even having a little improvisational fun with the show; they are definitely ready to let their characters entertain the audiences.

The show opens Friday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m. at the Mesquite Community Theatre, 150 N. Yucca St. Additional show schedules are Nov. 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 4 and 11 at 2 p.m. For more information on the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s 2018-19 Season or for volunteer opportunities, contact the VVTG at vvtgnv.com.