Ushered into the back alleyway situation somewhere in the lower east side of Manhattan, an audience is beckoned quietly up a rickety staircase to The Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth. The 20’s have just begun, prohibition is newly underway, and sin and debauchery run the local speakeasies. Audience members are encouraged to dress up and are handed small cards upon entering with special instructions for them to follow throughout the night as they enter interactive theatre.
The plot, while thin, is enough to captivate. What happened the night Abraham Lincoln was killed? Did John Wilkes Booth really die that night? Why would he shoot a man his brother had respected and had even become somewhat close to after saving Lincoln’s son from a would be fatal train accident? How did renowned actor, Edwin Booth react to the news? All of these questions and more are explored and not actually answered during this night of debauchery and mayhem.
Audience members are encouraged to explore the many rooms of the The Player House and find out for themselves what the mystery will reveal. Throughout the home are a host of characters that reveal more of the storyline before the end is climaxed in the main ballroom. Dancing girls, burlesque, a brass band, seances, and the odd Shakespeare monologue fill in the gaps between the two main theatrical moments for two hours of fun.
Performing onstage with a clear separation between the audience and the cast is difficult enough, but throwing a party and performing sword fights and emotion filled scenes with an audience that is literally touching you takes an enormous amount of energy and this cast tackled it with aplomb.
Created by Cynthia von Buhler and directed by Wes Granton, The Speakeasy Dollhouse is a magical experience that provides everything an audience could wish for. Cast of the show is as follows: Eric Gravez(Edwin Booth), Ryan Wesen(John Wilkes Booth), William Otterson(Junius Brutus Booth), Skylar Max Gallum(Young, John Wilkes Booth), Jonas Barranca(Young Edwin Booth), Samantha Rosentrater(Edwina Booth Grossmna), Victor Barranca(Edmond Quinn), Dan Olson(Henry James), Chrissy Basham(Opal Jones), Russel Farhang(John Drew), Tansy(The Hostess), E. James Ford(John Singer Sargent), Lord Kat(Mark Twain), Katelan Foisy(Violet James), Justin Moore(Officer Crane), Jennie Harder(Annie Hines), Allen Wilcox)Howard Kyle), Silent James(Himself), Travis Moore(Benjamin Crane), Natalie Rich(Georgina Rich), Chris Fink(Guy Nichols), Daniel Burns(Newsboy), Taxi Dancers: Hannah Rose, Sarah Vogt, Alexandra Kopko, Ashley Grombol, and Laura Epperson, Puppeteers: Erin Orr and Stacee Mandeville, featuring the burlesque skills of Deylsia La Chatte, and music provided by Grandpa Mullelman and his Syncopaters.
Be aware, this is a 21 and older event so leave the kids at home! It only runs for five more Saturdays so get your tickets while you still can!
Review By: Aziza Seven