The Theater: The Old Lady Shows Her Mettle

When Arsenic and Old Lace opened in London in 1942, a great many people doubted whether war-torn Britons would find murder and madness very amusing. Last week, with its 1,050th performance, Arsenic nosed out Edward Sheldon's Romance to become the longest-running U.S. play in London's history. Everybody from the Royal Family down had seen it; Mrs. Churchill had seen it twice.

Though for months Vi's were whistling all around the theater, the cast never missed a performance. "There were plenty of times when we were ready to chuck it," one young actress admitted, "but what could we do when Dame Lilian kept...

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