Meet the Cast of East Lynne Theater Company’s “Arsenic and Old Lace” at an After-Show Q&A


Ever wonder how actors living in New York City end up performing at East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May?  What does it take to rehearsal a show and bring it to life before an audience?  Where are the actors performing after “Arsenic and Old Lace” closes?

The next opportunity for the ELTC audience to ask these and other questions is at the after-show talk-back on Friday, September 27.    

“Arsenic and Old Lace,” the 1941 comedy by Joseph Kesselring, is about the Brewster sisters who populate their cellar with “acceptable” lodgers. This production broke all ELTC box office records in 2018, and returns by popular demand. The show received excellent reviews including from Terry Teachout for “The Wall Street Journal” who wrote, “It’s hard to imagine a more diverting piece of summer fun than Gayle Stahlhuth’s revival of “Arsenic and Old Lace” at ELTC.  It crackles flawlessly.”

It runs through October 12, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes Street, where ELTC is in residence.  

The Brewster sisters are once more played by Suzanne Dawson and Gayle Stahlhuth. This marks Dawson’s eighth ELTC production. Her NYC credits include “CBS Live” and “The Last Musical.” Stahlhuth has performed in Off-Broadway and national touring productions and has been the artistic director of ELTC since 1999. She is once more directing “Arsenic.”

Their nephews are Mortimer, played by Matt Baxter Luceno, Jonathan portrayed by Paul Battiato, and Robert LeMaire is Teddy. Luceno, new to “Arsenic” this year, has been in several ELTC productions, including the world premiere of “A Year in the Trenches.” NYC credits include “The Winter’s Tale,” directed by Everett Quinton and “Chemistry of Love” at LaMama. Battiato’s NYC credits include “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Frankenstein.” LeMaire, who is also “Arsenic’s” assistant director, has been in ELTC productions since 2001, and for the last three years has directed shows for the company’s Summer Student Workshop.  Shows he’s directed for the Ocean City High School Drama Guild include “Addams Family: A New Musical,” and “Stage Door.”  

Mortimer’s fiancé, Elaine, is played by Jennifer Flynn, who has performed off-off Broadway, and spent time in Los Angeles, where she studied with David Mamet and produced and appeared in several theater, film, and online productions.

Morgan J. Nichols, making his fourth appearance at ELTC, portrays Jonathan’s sidekick, Dr. Einstein.  Recently he’s landed roles in CBS’s “Blue Bloods” and HBO’s “Vinyl.”

Thomas Raniszewski, who’s been performing with ELTC since 2005, was in the world premiere of “Dying Like Ignacio” in NYC. He portrays several roles including Mr. Gibbs, who is looking to rent a room from the two sisters.  Bob Reader, who plays Mr. Witherspoon, the head of a sanitorium, was a producer and director of a theater company from 1993-2005, while he was a professor at The College of Insurance in NYC.

Two police officers are on hand: Klein is played by Jeff Sharkey and O’Hara, a would-be playwright, is Leon Morgan, who is new to the cast this year.  Sharkey was recently in ELTC’s “The Rainmaker.” He’s performed with the Margate Players and other companies in South Jersey. This is Morgan’s third appearance with ELTC.  He’s also worked off-off-Broadway, and in television and commercials – even in Norway.

Tickets are $35; $30 for seniors; $20 for students and military, and ages 12 and under are free.  Cape May Stage and ELTC are celebrating the 3rd Annual Theater Week from October 2 – 6, during which time, there will be 50 tickets each night, selling for just $25 each, at ELTC. For information and reservations, call 609-884-5898 or visit