Karloff as Jonathan Brewster in the original production of Arsenic & Old Lace.

It’s interesting how childhood influences shape our lives.  I think the first time I realized that you could feel two things simultaneously was when as a child, I watched Boris Karloff as the  Frankenstein monster – a character to be both feared and pitied.  That dichotomy has, I think, shaped my approach to theatre in many ways, as has the looming presence of Karloff himself.

Right now, we are producing Arsenic & Old Lace, a play tailor-made for Karloff, and I am teaching those monstrous mannerisms I first watched on TV over 40 years ago to Billy Bass as he prepares to play Jonathan Brewster.  And while I work with him, Jeff Curtis, who played the monster in our production of Young Frankenstein a couple of years ago, is skillfully cobbling together background music for “Arsenic” from the play’s 1944 film adaptation as well as selections from the Franz Waxman’s horrifyingly comic score for The Bride of Frankenstein.

You know, I can’t help but think that Karloff would be both proud and humbled to know that his work continues to influence the work of others some 85 years after he first created the monster we’ve all come to fear and love.

Watch for the documentary Boris Karloff: The Man Behind The Monster coming out this fall:

And don’t miss Arsenic & Old Lace in-person and streaming live this month at the PAC:

This month The PAC Spotlight shines on…

John Hardin High School’s Brayden Hall and Bluegrass Middle School’s Tracy Arflin.

Catch them onstage together this month at the PAC in Arsenic & Old Lace.

Learn more about them both and all the other PAC Spotlight Ambassadors we’ve recognized over the years.