Speakeasy Dollhouse Heads To Broadway


"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

(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 Carrie, ZIEGFELD’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.

Olive Thomas will be played by actress, model and filmmaker Syrie Moskowitz. Recently, Moskowitz starred in a one-woman play also adapted for the screen, “A Telephone call” by Dorothy Parker, directed by Avram Ludwig (Swingers). Moskowitz has been the feature of a Spring 2015 Kate Spade advertising campaign. Joey Calveri will play Jack Pickford. Calveri was featured in the Broadway cast of Rock of Ages as Joey Primo, and he assumed the starring role of Stacee Jaxx in 2012. Violinist Russell Farhang, the star of Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, will play Florenz Ziegfeld in ZIEGFELD’S MIDNIGHT FROLIC.

Delysia La Chatte will play Josephine Baker. La Chatte wrote, choreographed, produced and performed in Dark Heroine, a burlesque show about super heroines of color, at The Triad Theater. Robyn Adele Anderson will play Lilyan Tashman. Anderson is a lead vocalist in Postmodern Jukebox, a band that recently became a viral YouTube sensation. Postmodern Jukebox’s album hit #1 on the iTunes Jazz Chart and charted in the top five of the Billboard charts.

The cast will also include Dash Barber, Billy Butler, Haleigh Ciel, Brian Davis, Bethany Fay, Chris Fink, Ellie Frances, Luka Fric, Jeremy X Halpern, Glen Heroy, Celeste Hudson, Charley Layton, Dana McDonald, Frank Neuman, Turner Rouse, Anya Sapozhnikova, Erin Orr, Samantha Smart, Chandler Smith, Bobby Underwood, Erica Vlahinos, Carmen Carriker, Dolly Debutante, Lily Faye, Ivory Fox, Brianna Hurley, Melody Jane, Francine the Lucid Dream, Wae Messed, Kat Mon Dieu, Melissa Aguerre, Sarah Sadie and Sylvana Tapia.

ZIEGFELD’S MIDNIGHT FROLIC’s music director and bandleader is Alphonso Horne, a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars, the band that played nightly for the Broadway musical After Midnight.

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 will be choreographed and performed by Anya Sapozhnikova from House of Yes. Puppetry will be created and performed by Erin Orr. Billy 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. There will also be a dinner option for guests during the show featuring traditional 1920’s American cuisine with pescetarian, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Entrees are $20-$45. Reservations for dinner may be made by emailing Christina at reservations@libertytheaterny.com. For questions about dinner and the menu, call 212-997-0009 M - F from 10am - 5pm.

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) Dewdroppers wander and explore -- they don't need a reserved seat. They receive a role, a passport and an unforgettable experience.

Bee's Knees (VIP) Showgirls escort you to Varga's VIP-only art reception. You receive reserved seats, exclusive green room balcony access, a celebrity role, a passport and an unforgettable experience. 

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

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Speakeasy Dolhouse: The Bloody Beginning Extended Through August 15, 2015


Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, held at a historic Lower East Side speakeasy, has been extended until August 15, 2015.

The Bloody Beginning is one of the city's most unique, interactive, and surreal theater experiences. Performing to sold-out audiences since October 2011, The Bloody Beginning brings the actual unsolved Prohibition-era murder of Cynthia von Buhler's bootlegger grandfather to life in the downtown building that once served as mobster Meyer Lansky's hangout. The Prohibition-era time capsule features live jazz, burlesque, mobsters, moonshine and more.

DATES: Saturdays

TIMES: Show times are 5PM - 7:30PM

PRICES (Through Brown Paper Tickets):

Dewdropper (General Admission)    $55.00    
Dewdroppers wander and find their own way inside through a small door in a hidden alley.   

Bees Knees (VIP Admission)    $95.00
Bee's Knees don't wait in line. 16 year old Cynthia welcomes them into her bedroom where she shows them her dollhouse, reveals secrets, shares a champagne toast and escorts them to a reserved table.

Hotsy Totsy (VIM Admission)    $250.00
Very Important Murderers kill someone. These two also get everything the VIP level receives.

CREDITS: Produced by Smoosh & Smoosh Productions. Written and Directed: Cynthia von Buhler.

WEBSITE: www.speakeasydollhouse.com

TICKETS: www.brownpapertickets.com, 24/7 Customer Service 1-800-838-3006

"No ordinary theater experience."
- The Wall Street Journal

"Groundbreaking immersive theater."

"An ornately turned-out, unique, and well-produced experience.”
- Flavorpill

"Thrilling and delighting all of the senses."
- The Huffington Post

“An ingenious project jam-packed with creativity."

- Show Business Weekly

PRESS CONTACT:  PJ Mead, Phone: 646-221-5239, Email: pj@speakeasydollhouse.com

FOR PRESS PHOTOS – go to http://imgur.com/a/jOJFP






Based on a true NYC murder case, SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE immerses audience in a surreal, Prohibition-era time capsule featuring live jazz, burlesque, mobsters, moonshine and more.

Transporting audiences to an era of mobsters, moonshine, and murder, Cynthia von Buhler’s SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE, one of the city's most unique, interactive, and surreal theatre experiences, proudly celebrates its two-year anniversary this month.  Performing to sold-out audiences since October 2011, SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE brings an actual unsolved Prohibition-era murder to life in the downtown building that once served as mobster Meyer Lansky’s hangout. SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE is performed weekly (Saturdays at 5:00PM) at "Spano's Club" (a.k.a. The Back Room) located at 102 Norfolk St. (near Delancey St.).  Tickets (advance only and starting at $55.00) are available by calling 1-800-838-3006 or online at brownpapertickets.com.

SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE was created by artist and author Cynthia von Buhler, whose Italian immigrant grandfather, a speakeasy owner named Frank Spano, was shot and killed on a Manhattan 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 (which can be explored on location during each performance).

Von Buhler brought her miniature set to life in SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE, which was first intended to be a one-night theatrical staging (via a successful Kickstarter campaign). It has since become a hot underground theater ticket as it is consistently sold out, and has extended its run repeatedly over the past three years.

The SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE experience begins with a series of 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 address, including the password they will need to enter. Upon arrival, an audience member has their palm read by a fortune teller, and is assigned a role ranging from shooting a mobster to aiding in an autopsy.  Once they step through the tiny door, they are transported into a perfect replica of a speakeasy, where they can eat cannoli, sip hooch disguised in coffee cups, play cards with gangsters, enjoy burlesque performances – and witness a shooting, funeral, murder investigation, and trial.

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 private alleyway, a bakery, and more, 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.

SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE is more than just a play – it is a time capsule that transports 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.

The cast of SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE includes noted jazz violinist Russell Farhang in the starring role as Frank Spano, Nino Giaimo (Uncle Nino from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and “The Show with Vinny”) as undertaker Dominick Grimaldi, burlesque star Kat Mon Dieu as Lena Doino, jazz musician Howard Fishman as bandleader Henry Azelrod, and soprano Katie Kat as Millie Nelba.

SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE has attracted a roster of guest performers that has included bestselling author Neil Gaiman, actress Alison Wright, actor/singer Euan Morton, musician Amanda Palmer, writer Kate Manning, downtown theatre icon Edgar Oliver, and others. New guest performers will be announced shortly.

SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE is presented by Smoosh & Smoosh Productions. It is performed on Saturdays at 5 PM (5 – 7:30 PM) at “Spano’s Club” (a.k.a. The Back Room) located at 102 Norfolk St. (near Delancey St.).

Tickets to SPEAKEASY DOLLHOUSE are now available for performances through December 13th.  Tickets are available in advance only (prices start at $55; Packages and VIP tables are available.  Tickets can be purchased by phone at 1-800-838-3006 or online at brownpapertickets.com.

For inquires, call PJ Mead at 646-221-5239, or email pj@speakeasydollhouse.com

Stageworks Media Presents Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth

For Speakeasy Dollhouse, The Brothers Booth press photos, go to http://imgur.com/a/Fsgki#0

A New Chapter for the Long-Running Immersive Theater Hit

This time delving into the sibling rivalry 
between John Wilkes and Edwin Booth.

Stageworks Media 



Created by Cynthia von Buhler

Directed by Wes Grantom (Eager to Lose at Ars Nova)

Eric Gravez as Edwin Booth, Ryan Wesen as John Wilkes Booth,
Russell Farhang (Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning) as John Drew,
and Tansy (Eager to Lose) as the Hostess

Presented Monthly (Saturday Evening Performances) At The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South

EXTENDED – On Sale Now Through July, 2014
Stageworks Media presents 
Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth -- an immersive, time-traveling theatrical experience created by Cynthia von Buhler and directed by Wes Grantom (Eager to Lose at Ars Nova). Ms. von Buhler’s Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning has, over the past two years, become one of the city's most unique, interactive, and surreal theatrical experiences. Once again, Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth brings Ms. von Buhler’s unique brand of historic fiction investigation to the legends of John Wilkes and Edwin Booth. Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth is performed monthly on Saturday evenings (usually the first Saturday of the month) at The Players Club (16 Gramercy Park South). Tickets are now on sale through July 2014. For tickets and more information, visit www.speakeasydollhouse.com.
According to Speakeasy Dollhouse creator Cynthia von Buhler, Edwin Booth, a staunch Lincoln supporter, was honored by the president -- and even saved Lincoln’s son Robert from being crushed by a train shortly before the president’s assassination. Edwin, the more successful actor, divided the map allowing John Wilkes the opportunity to only perform in the South, while he ruled in the more desirable North. Every book I read on the family claimed that John Wilkes was his parent’s favorite. Their mother, Mary Ann, constantly told the boys of her prophesies about their destiny, leading them to become self-fulfilling. My research has led me to believe that Abraham Lincoln may have been murdered as a result of sibling rivalry, and not because of John Wilkes’ great love of the confederacy. The Brothers Booth encourages audiences to roam Edwin Booth's former mansion in search for the truth. Utilizing Shakespearean themes, longtime conspiracy theories, and surreal vignettes, Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth weaves together a story of the brothers' troubled lives.”

The Speakeasy Dollhouse experience begins with a series of emails from Cynthia von Buhler featuring actual news articles, investigative dollhouse recreations and a password.
The given password is to be whispered to a newsboy on the street in the back of Edwin Booth’s Greek Revival mansion -- now home to The Players, a real- life club for luminaries of all eras from Mark Twain and John Singer Sargent to Liza Minnelli and Jimmy Fallon. Ushered via a secret entrance into the club’s opulent ballroom, the audience is swept into a splendorous scene: The November 13, 1919 gala unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of Edwin, a legendary Shakespearean actor and the club’s founder. A newsboy announces the statue unveiling along with other breaking news: the Volstead Act has been passed and the John Wilkes Booth mummy has been stolen from the circus. Bootleg cocktails, burlesque, gambling, and live jazz are staples of the evening’s festivities. Scandals abound. The troubled relationship between handsome and impetuous John Wilkes and brilliant but brooding Edwin unravels as a series of surreal vignettes which swirl around partygoers and echo throughout the many rooms of the mansion. Because guests have the freedom of movement and to initiate interactions in the space, each experience is unique. While it pays not to be shy, even those who wish only to observe will be surrounded by eye-raising conversation, rousing music, dramatic performance, evocative puppetry, and haunting séances and spirit photography. Artist and author Cynthia von Buhler is the creator of the Speakeasy Dollhouse series. Her first play, The Bloody Beginning, is an immersive theatrical hit that explores the murder of von Buhler’s Italian immigrant grandfather, Frank Spano. A speakeasy owner, Spano was shot and killed on a Manhattan 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 (which can be explored on location during each performance). Von Buhler brought her miniature set to life in Speakeasy Dollhouse, which was first intended to be a one-night theatrical staging (funded via Kickstarter). It has since become a hot underground theater ticket, consistently sold out, since it began in 2011. The cast of Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth features Eric Gravez, Ryan Wesen, Russell Farhang and Tansy, as well as Jonas Barranca, Victor Barranca, Chrissy Basham, Daniel Burns, Laura Epperson, Chris Fink, Katelan Foisy, E. James Ford, Francine the Lucid Dream, Skyler Max Gallun, Ashley Grombol, Jenny Harder, Lord Kat, Alexandra Kopko, Delysia LaChatte, Stacee Mandeville, Justin Moore, Travis Moore, Dan Olson, Erin Orr, William Otterson, Natalie Rich, Hannah Rose, Samantha Rosenrater, Sarah Vogt, Silent James, and Allen Wilcox.
Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth is the first show of its kind to be staged at The Players Club, which was founded in 1888 by Edwin Booth, America's pre-eminent Shakespearean actor, and 15 other incorporators (including Mark Twain and General William Tecumseh Sherman). The Players was the first American club of its kind. Its purpose: "The promotion of social intercourse between members of the dramatic profession and the kindred professions of literature, painting, architecture, sculpture and music, law and medicine, and the patrons of the arts . . ." Today, leaders from a variety of professions in the arts, business, and commerce enjoy The Players' unique spirit of conviviality and discourse. 2014 marks the 125th anniversary of The Players Club. Cynthia von Buhler’s Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth, directed by Wes Grantom, is presented monthly (Saturday evening performances) at The Players Club (16 Gramercy Park South). The first performance was Saturday, March 1, 2014 (Press Opening). Tickets are currently on sale for the following Saturdays: April 5th at 8pm; May 3rd at 8pm; June 7th at 8 pm; and July 12th at 8pm. Tickets, which must be purchased in advance, are priced at $75 (general admission) and $125 (exclusive access to the VIP lounge with VIP-only scenes). Tickets are available by visiting www.speakeasydollhouse.com.

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