State Rep. Chapin Rose, who once had the lead in a Charleston High School musical, will return to the stage this weekend to help inaugurate The Theatre in Eastern Illinois University's new Doudna Fine Arts Center.
Rose (R-Mahomet), a Charleston native who spent much of his youth on EIU's campus, will make a homecoming of sorts to play Teddy Brewster, a character who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt, in the classic comedy "Arsenic and Old Lace."
"I haven't done anything like this since Camille (his wife) and I had the leads in our high school play in 1992," Rose said. In that show, "Annie Get Your Gun," they played Annie and Frank.
Those who would like to see Rose's return to comedic acting in "Arsenic and Old Lace" have four opportunities: 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday; and 2 p.m. Sunday.
"He told us it was his favorite play and he'd like us to do it someday," said J. Sain of the EIU theatre department. "He's doing a wonderful job."
Rose said it's been a lot of work, but he's thoroughly enjoying the experience.
“This is a blast. The students are doing a wonderful job. They’re very professional. Unfortunately for them, they’re having to work with me," he joked.
"Arsenic and Old Lace," written by Joseph Kesselring, is about two charming old ladies who populate their cellar with the remains of their "socially and religiously acceptable" rooming-house tenants.
Longtime EIU theatre director Clarence Blanchette, who retired last year, has returned to direct this production. Another EIU theatre alumna, Jayne Ball-Saret of Charleston, is in charge of costuming.
The production is being staged in memory of the late Nancy Paule Chandler, an EIU alumna who was a costumer for the EIU theatre department for several years in the 1970s and 1980s.
Tickets -- $12 for adults, $10 for EIU employees and senior citizens, and $5 for students -- may be purchased in the Doudna Fine Arts Center box office (217-581-3110) from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or one hour before each performance.
Tickets may also be reserved via e-mail at email@example.com. A confirmation e-mail will be sent, and reserved tickets may be paid for and picked up at the box office at the time of the performance.
The Doudna Fine Arts Center also offers a "pick your own season" season ticket program. Purchase tickets for any four performances to receive a 10 percent discount; six performances for a 15 percent discount; and eight or more performances for a 20 percent discount.