SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE: THE BLOODY BEGINNING, ONE OF NEW YORK CITY’S MOST THRILLING IMMERSIVE THEATRE EXPERIENCES, RETURNS IN A HISTORIC LANDMARK VENUE


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SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE: THE BLOODY BEGINNING, ONE OF NEW YORK CITY’S MOST THRILLING IMMERSIVE THEATRE EXPERIENCES, RETURNS IN A HISTORIC LANDMARK VENUE

 

Based on a true NYC murder case, “Speakeasy Dollhouse” immerses audiences in a surreal,
Prohibition-era time capsule featuring mobsters, moonshine, burlesque and more

New York, NY (July 1, 2016) – Transporting audiences to an era of mobsters, moonshine, and murder, one of the city's most unique, interactive, and surreal theatre experiences returns at Weylin, the newly restored Williamsburg Savings Bank landmark building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning experience begins with a series of exclusive emails featuring actual 1935 news articles, court documents, and autopsy reports. Audience members also receive special instructions to show up dressed for a 1930’s night on the town at a secret entryway, including the password they will need to enter. Upon arrival, each audience member is met by a fortune teller who reads their palm and assigns them a role. They are then transported into a speakeasy where they eat cannoli, play cards with gangsters, sip hooch disguised in coffee cups, mingle with mafia molls – and witness a shooting, funeral, murder investigation, and trial.

Replete with live jazz by Howard Fishman and his band, burlesque dancers, and real moonshine, the production offers up a meticulously detailed slice of New York City history.

Speakeasy Dollhouse is the brainchild of artist and author Cynthia von Buhler, whose Italian immigrant grandfather, a speakeasy owner named Frank Spano, was shot and killed on a New York City street in 1935. Though the shooter was caught, his case was inexplicably dismissed, leaving the question of motive forever unanswered.

Long haunted by the mystery, von Buhler, whose mother was born the day her grandfather died, began interviewing family members about the killing and scouring autopsy reports, police records, and court documents. Inspired by a 1940s investigative technique called "nutshell studies," von Buhler first recreated the crime scene in an elaborate dollhouse diorama that can be explored during each performance.

In Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, originally conceived in 2011 as a one-night-only event, Von Buhler brought her miniature set to life at mobster Meyer Lansky’s former speakeasy, The Back Room. Originally funded via a Kickstarter campaign, The Bloody Beginning soon became a hot underground theater ticket, selling out regularly and attracting a roster of guest actors from Broadway and hit television shows like FX’s The Americans and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. In 2012, von Buhler’s investigation was featured in The New York Times (Using a Dollhouse to Recontruct a Murder, 77 Years Later). The Bloody Beginning ran for four consecutive years and sparked two other immersive plays, Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth at Edwin Booth’s mansion on Gramercy Park (2014) and Speakeasy Dollhouse: Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic at Liberty Theater, a long-hidden Broadway venue in Times Square (2015). This July, von Buhler brings the unsolved Prohibition-era murder of her grandfather to life once again in a historic new home, Weylin.

In addition to different themes each month (July is “Gossip” and August is “Money”), each show explores a different motive behind the murder, from jealousy over a suspected affair to a Mafia hit. As audience members meander through a speakeasy bar, a bank vault, an autopsy room, a bootlegging bathroom, an office and take a birdcage elevator to the Spano’s apartment, they are privy to conversations and whispered snippets from cast members about the victim's marital infidelities, mob connections, and other clues. The piece is constantly evolving based on new scenarios sparked by spontaneous interactions between cast members and guests, who are encouraged to become full-fledged participants in the unfolding drama. Von Buhler is using discoveries and research culled from the performances for a book she is writing on the murder.

Speakeasy Dollhouse plays are more than just theater – they are time capsules which transport audiences to the scene of a riveting crime and then invites them to live fully in that world, erasing the boundary between themselves and the performers," said von Buhler.

Starring: Russell Farhang (Frank Spano), Dana McDonald (Mary Spano), Rachel Boyadjis (Dom Spano), Vincent Cinque (John Guerrieri), Travis Moore (Dutch Shultz), Celeste Hudson (Lucrezia Guerreri), Maria Rusolo/Pearls Daily (Frances Flegenheimer), Lord Kat (Hulon Capshaw), Charley Layton (Jimmy Hines), Katie Kat (Millie Nelba), Justin Moore (Detective Crane), Luka Fric (Officer Dempsey), Uncle Nino (Dominick Grimaldi), PJ Mead (Teenage Cynthia), Jordana Rollerhoops (Fortune Teller), Paul Duncan (Dr. Gonzales), Robyn Adele Anderson (Bessie Stitch), Delysia La Chatte (Dancer, Corpse), Kat Mon Dieu (Lena Doino), Nelson Lugo (Cousin Frankie Spano), Eden Atencio (Anna Spano), Glen Heroy (Lulu Rosencrantz), Cliff Fuller (Corpse),  Ariel Wolf (Cannoli Girl, Corpse, Elevator Operator), Jenny Harder (Hostess), Howard Fishman/Matt Musselman (Band Leader) Writer/Director/Set Designer: Cynthia von Buhler, Associate Director/Company Manager: PJ Mead, Produced by Smoosh & Smoosh, Inc.

What:
Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, an immersive theatre experience

When:
Friday, July 22, 2016
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Friday, August 12, 2016
Saturday, August 13, 2016

Time:   8PM – 11PM

Where:  Weylin, 173 Broadway, Williamsburg, NYC


Phone: Speakeasy Dollhouse: (646) 221-5239; The Weylin (718) 963-3639

Cost:
$60 (regular admission), $120 (Ten VIP admission – no waiting in line, table seating, champagne toast), $200 (Two VIM admission (Very Important Murderer) – same as VIP with a murderer role)

Tickets (advance only):
1-800-838-3006 or online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2554772

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The Illuminati Ball: An Immersive Excursion by Cynthia von Buhler

"Creative genius." - Forbes

“The kind of night that taps into the artistic foundation of what New York used to be: lavish, worth loving and completely ludicrous.” – Inside Hook

“Seducing you away from your sense of reality into a more subconscious, dreamlike state of mind, where anything is possible.” – Gothamist 

"Von Buhler strikes a good balance between entertaining her guests and telling a story." - Paper Magazine

“Lavish, eccentric, mysterious, and exclusive.”  – Untapped Cities


 
For information, interviews, photos contact:

***High res images available for download at: http://imgur.com/a/Jlnic

What:                      The Illuminati Ball: An Immersive Excursion by Cynthia von Buhler
Where:                   A secret location one hour outside of Manhattan
When:                     Bimonthly on Saturday evenings through October 29, 2016 (specific dates here)
                                    6:00pm – midnight
Website:               http://www.theilluminatiball.com/
Tickets:                   $450 per person (includes dinner, cocktails, and luxury round-trip transportation)


THE ILLUMINATI BALL TAKES IMMERSIVE THEATER TO NEW LEVEL, TRANSPORTING

THEATERGOERS TO SECRET ESTATE FOR SURREALIST SOIREE & PLAY

Latest interactive play from Cynthia von Buhler is inspired by
 infamous 1972 Surrealist Ball hosted by the de Rothschilds

New York, NY (March 17, 2016)Adventurous theatergoers will be whisked from Manhattan to a secluded lakefront estate outside of the city for a lavish dinner, exotic cocktails, and an extraordinary theatrical excursion inspired by the infamous Surrealist Ball hosted by the Baron and Baroness de Rothschild in 1972. 

It's all part of The Illuminati Ball, the latest production from playwright and director Cynthia von Buhler, creator of such acclaimed immersive theater experiences as Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic at The Liberty Theater (2015), Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth at The Players Club (2014), and Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, which ran in a historic Lower East Side speakeasy from 2011–2014.

Von Buhler said the inspiration for The Illuminati Ball was sparked by leaked photos from the de Rothschild’s legendary 1972 fete, which drew elaborately masked guests like Salvador Dali and Audrey Hepburn to the powerful couple’s massive mansion in France. She describes the play as “a surreal, bourgeois dinner party filled with power struggles, morality tests, and anthropomorphic escapades.” Coining the term “immersive excursion,” von Buhler explains it as “travel for the curious who enjoy actively engaging in a performance, rather than passively watching it.”

In addition to delighting in mouthwatering delicacies and libations as the story unfolds, guests will be dazzled with a fire performance, opera, aerial silk acts, and esoteric ritual ceremonies. On select dates, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, one of hip-hop's most original acts, will make a guest appearance to perform a new song he wrote for The Illuminati Ball that combines elements of rap and opera sung by Katie Kat.

“Illuminati and secret societies have been a recurrent subject in my lyrics throughout my career," said Prodigy. "I find The Illuminati Ball to be a very intriguing play and I am extremely honored that Cynthia invited me to be a part of the production.”

In keeping with the exclusivity of the de Rothschild’s affair, the list for each performance is limited to thirty guests (resulting in a 2:1 actor to guest ratio), who must first complete an application and be approved prior to purchasing tickets. Upon approval, they will be asked to choose an animal kinship of pig, monkey, cow, chicken, or mouse, which will shape their experience throughout the evening.

Guests are whisked away in a luxury limousine bus and transported to the secret estate, which is located on a secluded peninsula just one hour from Manhattan. En route, champagne will be served while guests are briefed, masked and rehearsed. Candidates will be returned to the city via the limousine before midnight.

The play is written and directed by Cynthia von Buhler. She is also the set designer. PJ Mead is the Associate Director. The cast are Vincent Cinque (Pig King), Travis Moore (Chumazee), Delysia LaChatte (Circe), Prodigy, Justin Moore (Moloch), Kat Mon Dieu (Demeter), Luka Fric (Vacanti), Eden Atencio (Kamadhenu), Katie Kat (Parthenope), Tim Hospodar (Dr. Rubenstein/Pig King), Koppyr Snyder (understudy) and Persephone, a miniature pot-bellied pig, as herself. Aerial is performed by Rachel Boyadjis and Sara Zepezauer. Fire performance is by Lady Blaze. Kat Mon Dieu is the costume designer.

The chef is Erin Orr and the mixologist is Bootleg Greg. The recipes for the tasting menu served at The Illuminati Ball can be found at Erin Orr’s food blog, Big Sis Little Dish. Adding still more mystery to the exquisite affair, the first course will be enjoyed blindfolded, heightening the experience and lending nuance to this initial dish.


PRESS CONTACT: pj@speakeasydollhouse.com or text 646-221-5239


SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE: ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC
 EXTENDS THROUGH SUMMER

"An evening of dark revelry” - The New York Times

"Like being inside a Baz Luhrmann movie" - TheaterMania

"A glorious romp" -  NY Daily News

"Thrilling and unique" -  TheaterMania

"A spangly, slithering web of dreams" -  Talkin' Broadway

"Dizzyingly elaborate" -  Talkin' Broadway

"A creatively altered universe" -  Viewing NY

"The darker side of the American Dream" Where NY

(July 1, 2015 – New York, NY) SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE: ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC, the third interactive show in the Speakeasy Dollhouse series from author, artist and playwright Cynthia von Buhler opened April 18, 2015 and has been extended through the summer.

The show is held at the historic Liberty Theater in Times Square (accessible only through a secret portal located at the back of the Liberty Diner at 234 West 42nd Street). Guests are given a faux United States passport, a suggested role to play and a password which grants them entry into a reimagining of Ziegfeld's 1920’s extravaganza The Midnight Frolic, replete with showgirls, burlesque, aerialists and – of course – plenty of spirits. At the center of the story is the mysterious 1920 poisoning death of silent film star and Ziegfeld Girl, Olive Thomas, and the subsequent destruction of her husband, movie star, Jack Pickford. Inspired by Theodore Dreiser’s novel Sister Carrie, ZIEGFELD MIGNIGHT FROLIC explores a starlet's transition from hopeful anonymity to disenchanted fame.

Audiences are free to follow the story by watching an elaborate stage show at Ziegfeld’s Rooftop Theater and or by using their passport to travel to “Paris.” In Paris they choose their corruption at Montmartre’s Cabaret du Néant where a garish garcon regales them with tales of guillotines and deadly bacteria. Or, they travel around the corner to sleuth the luxury suite at Hotel Ritz Paris where Pickford allegedly tried to save the Follies’ star, after she drank poison.

In addition to Thomas, Pickford and Ziegfeld, 1920s stars such as Fanny Brice, Josephine Baker, Eddie Cantor, Billie Burke, Marilyn Miller and the Ziegfeld Girls are represented in the cast. Guests are entertained with dance, jazz, silent films and magic and as with all Speakeasy Dollhouse experiences, guests are expected to ignore the advice their parents gave them as children: they should be nosy and talk to strangers.

ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC’s music director, bandleader and horn player is Alphonso Horne, a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars, the band that played nightly for the Broadway musical After Midnight. Bass is played by Jennifer Vincent, drums by Moses Patrou and keys by Chris Pattishall.

Cynthia von Buhler is the writer, director and set designer of ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC. Von Buhler's first play in the Speakeasy Dollhouse series, The Bloody Beginning, ran continuously in New York City from 2011 - 2105. Chris Fink served as associate director and FX’s The Americans star Alison Wright served as Directorial Consultant. Delysia La Chatte is the choreographer for the dance and burlesque. Carmela Lane created the costumes. Puppetry was created and is performed by Erin Orr. Billy Butler, wrote original songs for the show, and Czech photographer and filmmaker Bibiana created silent films for the play that feature the cast and the show’s sets at Liberty Theater. 

Bespoke cocktails were created by Bootleg Greg for ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC, mixologist at the Dean James Max farm-to-table restaurant Parallel Post in Connecticut, and are mixed and served by the Liberty Theater staff.

Liberty Theater will be offering a $65 per person prix fixe dinner option for guests during the show. Dinner will be traditional 1920's American cuisine (with pescetarian, vegan and gluten-free options) and will include a choice of an appetizer, a salad, an entree, a dessert and one drink (wine, beer, premium cocktail, or one of our specialty cocktails.) The prix fixe menu is posted on our website. Dinner is reserved by emailing reservations@libertytheaterny.com

The SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE series is produced by Smoosh & Smoosh Inc., which creates unique experiences by applying audience immersion to theater, fine art, music, events, and business. The company was founded in 2014 by husband and wife duo Russell Farhang and Cynthia von Buhler. Associate Producer PJ Mead joined the company in 2013.

SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE: ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC will be presented every Friday and Saturday evening, from April 18 – August 29, at the Liberty Theater. To enter the Liberty Theater, guests must enter through the Liberty Diner (234 West 42nd Street), where they will be escorted through a curtained doorway into the world of ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are priced as follows:

Dewdropper (General Admission) Dewdroppers wander and explore -- they don't need a seat. They receive a role, a passport and an unforgettable experience. $75

Bee's Knees (VIP) Showgirls escort VIPs to a ''champagne orgy'' at “Paris.'' They receive a luxurious stage side reserved seat, a celebrity role, a passport and an unforgettable experience. If they choose the dinner option they enjoy their dinner at a premium table. $150

Speakeasy Dollhouse often posts promo codes on their ticketing site offering lower prices. In addition, returning guests are encouraged to bring their first passport back in when they return to the show. Those with the most stamps receive special perks.

Tickets are available by phone at 1-866-811-4111 or online at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/943609.

PRESS CONTACT: pj@speakeasydollhouse.com or text 646-221-5239



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Speakeasy Dollhouse Heads To Broadway


PRESS CONTACT: pj@speakeasydollhouse.com or text 646-221-5239




SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE
TRANSFORMS TIMES SQUARE’S
 LIBERTY THEATER FOR 
ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC


"An evening of dark revelry” - The New York Times

''Von Buhler infuses the evening with a louche and lively glamour'' - The New Yorker

"Like being inside a Baz Luhrmann movie" - TheaterMania

"A glorious romp" -  NY Daily News

"Thrilling and unique" -  TheaterMania

"A spangly, slithering web of dreams" -  Talkin' Broadway

"Dizzyingly elaborate" -  Talkin' Broadway

"A creatively altered universe" -  Viewing NY

"The darker side of the American Dream" - Where NY

(March 5, 2015 – New York, NY) This spring, a former Broadway theater just off Times Square will be resurrected as the lavish and risqué playground of Florenz Ziegfeld and his Follies for SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE: ZIEGFELD’S MIDNIGHT FROLIC, the third interactive show in the Speakeasy Dollhouse series from author, artist and playwright Cynthia von Buhler.


From April 18 – May 9 at the Liberty Theater (accessible only through a secret entrance located at the back of the Liberty Diner at 234 West 42nd Street), guests can step into a reimagining of Ziegfeld's 1920’s extravaganza The Midnight Frolic, replete with showgirls, burlesque, aerialists and – of course – plenty of spirits. At the center of the story is the mysterious 1920 poisoning death of silent film star and Ziegfeld Girl, Olive Thomas, and the subsequent destruction of her husband, movie star, Jack Pickford. Inspired by Theodore Dresier's novel Sister CarrieZIEGFELD’S MIGNIGHT FROLIC explores a starlet's transition from hopeful anonymity to disenchanted fame.


Audiences will be free to follow the story on their own by wandering throughout an expansive environment. Choose your corruption at Montmartre’s Cabaret du Néant while a garish garcon regales you with tales of guillotines and deadly bacteria. Sleuth the luxury suite at Hotel Ritz Paris where Pickford allegedly tried to save the Follies’ star, after she drank poison. Take a gander at the glories and gutters that created the American Dream.
In addition to Thomas, Pickford and Ziegfeld, 1920s stars such as Fanny Brice, Josephine Baker, Eddie Cantor, Billie Burke, Will Rogers, Marilyn Miller, Mary Eaton, Dorothy Mackaill, Alberto Vargas, Mr. Gallagher, Mr. Sheen and the Ziegfeld Girls will be represented in the cast. Guests will be entertained with dance, jazz, silent films and magic – and as with all Speakeasy Dollhouse experiences, guests are expected to ignore the advice their parents gave them as children: they should be nosy and talk to strangers.

ZIEGFELD’S MIDNIGHT FROLIC’s music arranger is Alphonso Horne, a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars, the band that played nightly for the Broadway musical After Midnight. Chris Pattishall and Jennifer Vincent are the co-music directors of the show.

Cynthia von Buhler is the writer, director and set designer of ZIEGFELD’S MIDNIGHT FROLIC. Von Buhler's first play in the Speakeasy Dollhouse series, The Bloody Beginning, has been running continuously in New York City since 2011. Chris Fink will serve as associate director, in addition to playing Eddie Cantor. FX’s The Americans star Alison Wright will serve as Directorial Consultant. Delysia La Chatte will be the choreographer for the dance and burlesque. Aerial was choreographed by Anya Sapozhnikova from House of Yes and Melissa Aguerre. Puppetry will be created and performed by Erin OrrBilly Butler, the silent film explicator, will be writing original songs for the show, and Czech photographer and filmmaker Bibiana is creating silent films for the play that will feature the cast and the Liberty Theatre.


Bespoke cocktails will be created by Bootleg Greg, mixologist at the Dean James Max farm-to-table restaurant Parallel Post in Connecticut. 

The SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE series is produced by Smoosh & Smoosh Inc., which creates unique experiences by applying audience immersion to theater, fine art, music, events, and business. The company was founded in 2014 by husband and wife duo Russell Farhang and Cynthia von Buhler. 

SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE: ZIEGFELD’S MIDNIGHT FROLIC will be presented every Thursday through Saturday evening, from April 18 – May 9, at the Liberty Theater. To enter the Liberty Theater, guests must enter through the Liberty Diner (234 West 42nd Street), where they will be escorted through a back entrance in to the world of ZIEGFELD’S MIDNIGHT FROLIC. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are priced as follows:


Dewdropper (General Admission, 8pm) Dewdroppers wander and explore -- they don't need a seat. They receive a role, a passport and an unforgettable experience. Please note: This ticket level isn't guaranteed a seat unless they reserve the prix fixe dinner with their ticket. You may reserve dinner by emailing reservations@libertytheaterny.com

Bees Knees (VIP Admission, 7:30pm) Showgirls escort you to VIP-only ''champagne orgy'' at ''The Hotel Ritz in Paris.'' You receive a luxurious stage side reserved seat, a celebrity role, a passport and an unforgettable experience. If you choose the dinner option you enjoy your dinner at a premium table.

There will be a separate $65 prix fixe dinner option for guests during the show featuring traditional 1920’s American cuisine with pescetarian, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.  The dinner includes an appetizer, a salad, an entree, a dessert and a cocktail or wine. Reservations for dinner may be made by emailing reservations@libertytheaterny.com. For questions about dinner and the menu, call 212-997-0009 M - F from 10am - 5pm.


Tickets are available by phone at 1-866-811-4111 or online at


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