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Congratulations to cast and  support crew on a great effort and performance this year!


Joe Madza’ s just too nice a guy to be playing old Uncle John, Lizzie Borden’s so-called peculiar relative.  John, who stayed in the guest room where Abby Borden would be murdered the next day has always been a somewhat sinister personality. Many think John knew about the murders, helped to plan and assist the assailant, or maybe even had a hand in it himself!  His alibis were nearly too perfect.  The only thing not clear was a motive.

pearbwJoe ‘s interest in the case began with a vengeance after viewing the 1975 Elizabeth Montgomery television film when he was a college freshman. “I was both admiring and appalled at the same time that a woman could do such a thing.”  Many applaud Lizzie’s grit in getting what she wanted and then soothe their conscience by saying the elderly Bordens were not nice and probably deserved what they got!  “We have to somehow justify approving of murder,” Joe says sheepishly.

The Victorian and Egyptian eras have a great resonance for Joe- and he wonders if reincarnation is so far-fetched.  “I felt right at home the first time I stepped into the Borden House- I had come home again.” 

When asked whose eyes he would have liked to have been looking through on the day of the murders, he responded immediately,

“Addie Churchill’s!  She was the very first on the scene, and she saw something important that day- something she would not tell.  It must have been an eyeful because she never told what it was”.

As to the killer, Joe has no doubt it was Lizzie- all the way, and solo-although others in the house and neighbors on the street knew more than they were willing to tell about the situation in the family and what they saw and heard that day.  Joe also agrees with the theory that Abby was the intended victim and Andrew was just unfortunate in coming home at the wrong time before Lizzie could concoct a reasonable alibi for the time of Abby’s murder. 

 “His was a killing of self-preservation for Lizzie- because who would have known better who could have killed Mrs. Borden and why?”

Joe has researched his character inside and out for his portrayal Tuesday.

“I don’t like Morse- I don’t think he was a very lovable man or a nice one,” Joe admits candidly. “He did not seem surprised at Abby’s death, and his behavior watching and taking it all in while eating pears under the trees in the back yard seems unnatural behavior”.

 But the chance to don a fake gray beard and look “peculiar” and sinister under the pear trees was a role too good to miss!  When Joe is not time traveling to 1892, he is an eighth grade teacher in Warren, Ohio teaching science and gifted students.  I’d bet he’s a favorite with the kids!

Sweet Bridget from County CorkThis year the role of Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan from County Cork will be played by P.E.P. newcomer Kristin Pepe.  Shown above getting into the character on June 20th at Lizzie Borden Live, Kristin’s greatest worry is getting down the Irish brogue, which may “for an Italian gal”-  be a bit of a challenge.  Kristin joins the P.E.P. Players fresh from the Lizzie Borden Society Forum and is an intrepid Mutton Eater First Class!  A few years ago Kristin solved the pressing mystery of where Lizzie’s sister Emma went to school-Wheaton Female Seminary, now Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and has since enjoyed researching other Borden-related projects.

Over the years, Borden house employees Kathleen Cramer-Troost, Samantha Carey, Amanda, and former general office manager Michele have taken a stab at playing the Borden maid.  Looks like Kristen already knows how to serve up something tastier than mutton!

Bridget with coconut chicken

It hardly seems possible that August 4th is just around the corner again.   Rehearsals for this year’s production will take place on August 3rd, and new cast members will be learning the ropes.  This year we welcome Joe Razda of Warren, Ohio as Uncle John.  Joe comes out to Fall River for a week every year and this year will be the first character visitors will meet on August 4th.  Uncle John’s alibi was that he had been in the eastern part of the city visiting relatives at the Emery house on Weybossett St.  Joe has ordered a real hair fake beard and John’s signature gray sack suit and string tie for the occasion.

Also new to the August 4th cast this year is Ellen Borden, sister of Barbara Morrissey (our annual Miss Emma). The sisters are relatives of Lizzie through the Cook Borden line.  Ellen recently appeared with the Mutton Eaters as Dr. Bowen’s wife, Phoebe at the June 20th performance of Lizzie Borden Live at the Eagle.

Ellen and Barbara Borden

Phoebe Bowen

Check back daily for news on the production and cast members as we start the one -week countdown to the annual event!

This year Ben, who works at the Second Street house whenever he can sandwich in a day between performances and school, created a first-time role- that of Detective Seaver.  In years gone by, Ben has played Mr. Cunningham, the fellow who was crossing the street after coming out of Wade’s Market and overheard Mrs. Churchill exclaiming about the killings to a man she knew in front of the livery. 

Ben hails from Charlestown, R.I. where he has lived his whole young life.  He works as a PASS Direct Services Worker thru CranstonArc, serving adults and children with physical or mental disabilities, and has impressive stage credentials.

 He is currently a junior at the University of Rhode Island majoring in theatre. Upon completion of graduation requirements next year, he will be a professional actor with a Bachelor of the Fine Arts degree with a focus in acting.  Ben joins Jeff in thinking Lizzie did the deeds!

Watch out for this young man- Broadway is calling!  Here are some of Ben’s post high school credits:


The Tsarina’s Booties: a new musical

(Perishable Theatre Providence), June 2008 – a very Dirty Deacon, Paunchy Patsuik

Hide and Seek: Scenes from the Closet
(URI Providence Theatre), June 2008 – various

Birds of Paradise
(Cornerstone Playhouse – Wakefield RI), July 2008- Dave

The Altos: a mafia musical by Arlene Violet
(Garzilli/Violet Proco), May 2008 – reading, various

Girls of the Night Cabaret
(Ungar/Madison Proco – Westerly RI), April 2008

Set it Down with Gold on Lasting Pillars
(URI Theatre), May 2008 – Howard

(URI Theatre Mainstage), March 2008 – Venticello II


Little Women: the musical
(URI Theatre Mainstage), December 2007 – Ensemble, Brooke/Baher Understudies

Stuff Happens
(URI Theatre Mainstage), October 2008 – Dick Cheney

The Smart Set
(Cornerstone Playhouse), August 2007 – Ensemble, Eduoard understudy

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
(Cornerstone Playhouse), July 2007 – Linus

Michelangelo: the musical
(Opera Providence/PPAC RI), April 2007 – Ensemble


A Christmas of Carols
(Cornerstone Playhouse), December 2006

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
(URI Theatre Mainstage), December 2006 – Dogette
 Theatrical Musical Direction Credits2008

Beauty and the Beast

(LivingArt Theatricks, Cranston RI) – July/August 2008 Musical Director/Piano Conductor

Bye Bye Birdie
(Chariho Players), May 22-24 2008 – Conductor, Asst. MD

The Pajama Game
(Bryant University), April 2008 – MD/Conductor

Chariho Players 2008 Cabaret
(Chariho Players), February 2008 – MD/piano


(Chariho Players), May 2007 – Musical Director/Conductor

Chariho Players 2007 Cabaret
(Chariho Players), January 2007 – MD/piano


Home for the Holidays: a new musical
Book, Music and Lyrics by Benjamin Rose







After the 1992 Lizzie Borden Centennial was but a memory, six people who had met at the event decided to form an armchair sleuth society which would meet about every 8 weeks.  Dubbed The Second Street Irregulars in homage to the Sherlockian society, the group would soon form the core of the Pear Essentials Productions troupe, an amateur band of would-be thesbians dedicated to bringing the Borden story to life.  The original six would grow over the years, and so did their projects and creative endeavors- from singing costumed quartets to large cast productions at the Second Street house on August 4th.  We live what we love.

Lambie Winner 2009 Best Actor Joe Radza as John Morse

Cast 2009

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