Martha (Joyce McGookey, left) and Abby (Andrea Krass McDonald, center) are afraid their diabolical plans have been discovered by Johnathan (Steve Larson, center) and Dr Einstein (Kevin Branshaw, right).
Martha (Joyce McGookey, left) and Abby (Andrea Krass McDonald, center) are afraid their diabolical plans have been discovered by Johnathan (Steve Larson, center) and Dr Einstein (Kevin Branshaw, right).

It’s 100th season opens with Arsenic and Old Lace.

For a young woman, Andrea Krass McDonald’s getting quite adept at playing little old ladies. But, of course, that’s why they call it acting. Her first time back on stage since 1997 was last year when she was a tap-dancing old lady in the ensemble of The Producers at Birmingham Village Players. Now, Krass McDonald is about to star in Birmingham Village Player’s 100th season opener, Arsenic and Old Lace, running Sept. 9-25, as spinster Abby Brewster.

Krass McDonald is half of a sweet sister duo who take in lonely old men as boarders and then poisons them with elderberry wine. Their nephew, who thinks he’s actually Teddy Roosevelt, buries the bodies in the cellar, which he believes is the Panama Canal.

And, yes, this is a farce of epic proportions.

“My character has such a good heart and very good intentions. She really feels that she’s doing a mitzvah by killing off these men. Even though Abby is a nice, church-going feisty lady, I guess she considers it her own form of tzedakah,” laughs Krass McDonald. 

Ironically, Krass McDonald’s first full-length production as a junior at Southfield-Lathrup High School was Arsenic and Old Lace. That was 33 years ago. Back then, she played the ingenue, Elaine, who is engaged to Abby and Martha Brewster’s nephew, Mortimer.

“The last time I was in a show it was 1997. But the minute I got back on stage at Birmingham Village Players, I had a phenomenal experience. I thought, ‘You know what? I think this is my new home,’” says Krass McDonald, who lives in Rochester with her husband and two kids.

Though she has her BFA in performing arts from Wayne State University, Krass McDonald chose a different career path.

“I didn’t want to be a struggling actor. I like stability. So I went the makeup route,” says Krass McDonald, who’s a freelance makeup artist for wedding parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, and celebrities. 

Andrea Krass McDonald
Andrea Krass McDonald

When she worked for MAC Cosmetics, Krass McDonald was the makeup artist for the backup dancers on Cher’s Farewell Concert Tour. She’s also the business manager for Charlotte Tilbury cosmetics at Nordstrom Somerset.

Having a makeup design background has proved very helpful for her role in Arsenic and Old Lace. In addition to needing to age herself, Krass McDonald has offered assistance to those actors who require prosthetics and sinister effects, including one character who needs to resemble actor Boris Karloff, who starred as Frankenstein’s monster.

Krass McDonald is gearing up for tech week. She’s looking forward to having her family come to the show, including her sister, Alison Blau, who has been the office coordinator at Congregation Beth Ahm for the past 19 years; and their father, Ed Krass, Leonhard Elementary retired physical education teacher.

At press time, it was just announced that the Cultural Council of Birmingham Bloomfield is honoring the Birmingham Village Players (BVP) with the prestigious Partners with the Arts Award in recognition of its 100 years in the community. 

Join BVP at a special reception in its honor on Oct. 14 at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center. Last year, BVP members Roberta Campion, co-director of the upcoming hit musical The Addams Family, and her husband, Michael, received the 2021 Cultural Council of Birmingham Bloomfield Lifetime Achievement Award. 

For more information about the Oct. 14 event, go to: https://culturalcouncilbirminghambloomfield.org/. 

Details

Join Partners with the Arts Award winner Birmingham Village Players for its 100th season. For more information or to purchase reserved individual or season tickets, go to birminghamvillageplayers.com or call the box office at (248) 644-2075. BVP is located at 34660 Woodward Ave. in Birmingham.

• Arsenic and Old Lace – Sept. 9-25, 2022

• The Addams Family – Oct. 28-Nov. 13, 2022

• Harold and Maude, The Musical – Jan. 13-29, 2023

• Lend Me a Tenor – March 10-26, 2023

• Into the Woods – May 5-21, 2023

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