The Aerie, Yearbook of University of North Texas, 1990 Page: 69
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Kesselring's three-act show 'Arsenic and
Old Lace' come to campus as the Gaylord-Hughes Scholarship
benefit performance during the spring semester
he annual Gaylord-Hughes production
- an important source of scholarship
funds for NT's drama department -
was slightly different than it had been in
previous years. Martha Gaylord and Tom
Hughes, who founded the performance held
every spring at NT, decided not to participate
in the 1990 stage production. "After fourteen
years of performances" the two actors felt
"tired" and wished not to
be in any more plays.
Their presence would be
missed, although they
planned to continue pro-
moting the event finan-
Even through this ma-
jor change, the show still went on for the
spring 1990 Gaylord-Hughes production. The
play chosen was a Broadway smash -Joseph
Kesselring's 1940 comedy "Arsenic and Old
Lace." The three-act show chronicles the lives
of two old, spinster sisters named Abby and
Martha Brewster "who practice euthanasia by
poisoning lonely oldsters with elderberry wine
laced with arsenic." After their deaths the un-
fortunate victims are buried in the Brewster
basement. Abby and Martha are helped in
their "mercy mission" by two of their neph-
ews. Teddy and Jonathan Brewster are not at
all sane - Teddy thinks he's Theodore Roo-
sevelt and Jonathan feels (and looks) like Bo-
ris Karloff. The sister's scheme is eventually
discovered and humorous incidents com-
All roles for the performance were played
by NT drama students except three. Abby,
Martha and Mortimer Brewster (another
nephew) were played by, respectively, Jane
Simoneau,Jeanne Evans and NT alumnus Ste-
phen Lehew. Working with professional actors
gave the students a chance to expand their
own dramatic skills. Anthony Caranna, who
was stage manager for the production, said the
professionals "worked well with everyone"
and "helped students with tips" on how to
improve their abilities. The production was
well-done, according to Caranna, and "went
off without a hitch."
Attendance for the benefit was less than
normal, most likely as a result of the loss of
Martha Gaylord and Tom Hughes. Still, the
productions, held March 1-3, were adequately
attended, selling out on Friday night. A box
office employee believed that audience reac-
tion to the play was "fairly positive." The
Saturday performance was followed by a gala
which was as a fund-raiser for the Gaylord-
Hughes scholarship. However, poor atten-
dance on that night gave the scholarship pro-
gram less money than usual.
Winners of Gaylord-Hughes scholarships
for the 1989-90 school year included Cherie
Bloodworth, Robin Daffinee, Traci Sue Gris-
son, Vicki L.Jones, William Reynolds, Sharon
Boynton-Currie, Matthew Earnest, Dorothy
Lin Kocurek and and Rebecca Hildabrand. In
order to qualify for the Gaylord-Hughes
scholarship, students had to be drama majors
with a 3.0 grade point average and be enrolled
in at least six hours of drama courses. Hope-
fuls were then required to audition in the
following fall semester where they were sub-
ject to a vote of the drama faculty.
Arsenic And Old Lace
Arts And Entertainment
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University of North Texas. The Aerie, Yearbook of University of North Texas, 1990, yearbook, 1990; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth61055/m1/72/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.