All My Children's Julia Barr and Walt Willey

July 15, 2010

It's the second year that Walt has returned to his hometown to present a community theater production at Ottawa High School. Last year The Odd Couple had a successful run.

Arsenic and Old Lace is the story of the eccentric Brewster family and their murderous habits. Julia, who has played AMC's "Brooke" for over 30 years, appears as "Abby." Walt appears as "Mortimer." Joining them onstage will be Kim "Howard" Johnson, noted Monty Python diarist and chronicler and improvisational actor. Howard plays the role of "Jonathan" and Ottawa's own Mary Fennessey Morgan appears as "Martha."

Arsenic and Old Lace marks WilleyWorld Community Productions' second annual effort in developing a self-sustaining theatre for the Ottawa community as well as a mentorship program for young people in the Ottawa area.

"The community support for and the success of last year's The Odd Couple made it clear that there is a place for this kind of theatre in Ottawa," Walt says. "The fusion of community and professional talents and resources made for a truly exciting experience and we can't wait to do it again!"

"The work done by the youth involved in last year's production was truly on a professional level. The props, scenic and light crews -- everybody involved -- gave their all and without them we couldn't have done it!" Howard adds.

Arsenic and Old Lace kicks off Ottawa's newly extended City of Ottawa Riverfest which runs Wednesday, July 28 through August 1.

For tickets and more information: call the Ottawa Visitors Center at: 815.434-2737 or visit

July 23 to July 25
Ottawa High School
211 E. Main St.

Meet Walt Willey, Julia Barr, and Howard Johnson
Saturday, July. 17 10:30am - Noon
Here's your chance to meet and greet the well loved cast members of the upcoming play Arsenic and Old Lace! Snap a picture with Ottawa native, Walt Willey (All My Children's "Jackson Montgomery")! Get an autograph from the lovely Julia Barr (All My Children's "Brooke English")! Talk with talented, local journalist Howard "Kim" Johnson (ImprovOlympic)! Free event at Reddick Mansion (Enter Side Door Under the Steps) 100 W. Lafayette St., Ottawa; 815-434-2737


Howard Johnson played the role of "Oscar Madison" in last year's production of The Odd Couple and is the definitive chronicler of "Monty Python" (Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday). He has taught and directed improvisational comedy in Chicago and Santa Barbara, CA, and is co-author of Truth in Comedy. A longtime improvisational actor, Howard appeared in the Monty Python film Life of Brian and John Cleese's Personal Best on A&E; he has also performed with Chicago's ImprovOlympic, and on-stage locally with Ottawa Community Players and Stage 212.

Julia Barr is most famous for her role on the soap opera All My Children, playing the character of "Brooke English." Barr made her acting debut at the age of 13 in a production of Peter Pan. By the time she graduated from college at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, she had performed in 25 professional productions. She spent two years at the Studio Arena Theater in Buffalo, New York. Her portrayal of "Brooke English" has garnered Ms. Barr eight Daytime Emmy Award nominations, winning the trophy in 1990 and 1998 for 'Outstanding Supporting Actress'.

Walt Willey has portrayed Jackson Montgomery on ABC's All My Children for 23 years. He was last seen on stage in Ottawa in the role of "Felix Ungar" in The Odd Couple". Ironically, later that year, Willey played the role of "Oscar Madison" at the Surflight Theatre. In New York, Walt has appeared off-Broadway in Dust Off with Dan Lauria and Night of the Bear, directed by Michael Mann. In 1992, Walt co-starred off-Broadway with Cady McLain and Bernie Barrow in Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park. He has been a stand-up comic for over twenty years, headlining in clubs nationally, and hosts many charity events.

Mary Morgan received her bachelor's degree in drama from Northern Illinois University and began teaching Oral Interpretation and dramatics as well as English at Ottawa Township High School. She has appeared in over 25 community theater productions with the former Ottawa Community Players and Engle Lane Community Theatre. Mary is a retired Guidance Counselor from Ottawa High School, but still retains a great interest in young people and theater. She appeared in The Odd Couple last summer as Gwendolyn Pigeon. Mary is married to Ottawa High School English teacher and football coach Tony Morgan.

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