Somehow, despite the fact that I’ve been acting since I was 14, I had never actually done summer stock. Until now. Director Clayton Phillips and Artistic Director Sarah Rozene invited me to venerable Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth, NH to play the plum role of Dr. Einstein in their production of the classic dark comedy, Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring.
I have never worked with a lovelier bunch of human beings. I can’t say enough good things about the cast and crew and whole company. Plus, having buddy David Sitler (who played Owen in my 2014 The Foreigner at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre) playing opposite me as the evil Jonathan Brewster made it all the more fun. And the stunning natural surroundings in tiny Tamworth were an absolute joy every day. We had one week of rehearsal in an old barn by a gorgeous river (really) and then two weeks of performances in the little 280-seat gem that is Barnstormers Theatre. And on one of my morning bike rides, I saw a black bear—from a safe distance! What a beautiful area. It was like stepping back in time, or visiting Brigadoon.
And it happened so fast! Three weeks from start to finish. But I will carry many happy lasting memories from this summer idyll. It was a genuinely lovely experience in a magical place. I was honored to be included in the Barnstormers’ 93rd season!
I’m humbled by the lovely response to my interpretation of Dr. Einstein.
Sidekick Sellon is a fun-loving sot—nervous and impish, always making his supporting role shine. The best moment of the show is when he is ready to turn himself in to the authorities for his crimes only to be congratulated and set free by the bumbling Lt. Rooney.
Conway Daily Sun:
In the film, Dr. Einstein was played by German actor Peter Lorre whose accent and speech pattern still remain iconic. Sellon resists doing a Lorre impression except in the way he says “Johnny.” While he retains the German accent, he makes it his own.
So much of this play is reactionary and, like Ahnquist, Sellon has terrific facial expressions in response to the play’s building insanity. He also makes the character oddly endearing and likable.
(For the record, the German accent and the way I pronounced “Johnny” as “Chonny” came straight from the script!) 😏