Artist and author Cynthia von Buhler created Speakeasy Dollhouse in 2011 to explore the murder of her own Italian immigrant grandfather, a speakeasy owner named Frank Spano, who was shot and killed on a New York City street in 1935. In Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, von Buhler brought a miniature set to life at mobster Meyer Lansky’s former speakeasy. Von Buhler followed The Bloody Beginning with two other immersive plays including Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic which was staged at a long-hidden Broadway theater uncovered in Times Square. Now, von Buhler’s latest theater experience centers on the mysterious death of magician Harry Houdini and the undercover investigation of Minky Woodcock, the female private eye trying to get to the bottom of it.
The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini is based on von Buhler’s noir comic book series for Titan Comics/Hard Case Crime. The play will audience transport the audience back to 1926, the year Harry Houdini died, to witness his final days through the point of view of an assigned character. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believes Houdini is not merely a magician but has supernatural powers; Bess Houdini suspects her husband is cheating on her. Minky goes undercover as Houdini’s new assistant, and when the great illusionist dies, Minky’s investigation leads her to the darkest of secrets.
©Cynthia von Buhler 2018
The audience will be immersed in a surreal Prohibition-era time capsule where they might find themselves attending a séance, helping the magician rehearse backstage, sipping absinthe in a speakeasy, spying on an affair in a hotel room, witnessing an attempted murder, visiting Houdini in his hospital room, or viewing his body in the morgue. All attendees “travel via train” to watch Houdini’s final month of performances, including his iconic Water Torture Chamber act. Evidence is revealed, but the truth is left up to the theatergoer to decide. In order to bring this spectacular show to life, Speakeasy Dollhouse is seeking support via a Kickstarter campaign.
If you are or become an Untapped Cities Insider, on September 21st, you can attend a dress rehearsal performance of The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini and post-show book party for free!
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Starring: Pearls Daily (Minky Woodcock), Vincent Cinque (Harry Houdini), Robyn Adele Anderson (Bess Houdini), Lord Kat (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Delysia La Chatte (Nurse La Chatte), Luka Fric (Bennie Woodcock), E. James Ford (J. Gordon Whitehead), Eden Atencio (Mina Crandon aka Margery of Boston), Ryan Salvato (Sam Smiley), Rolls Andre (Lawyer), Celeste Hudson (Lady Marler), Mat Leonard (Jim Collins), Tess Richie (Maid), Tony Noto
(Doctor), Audrey Allen (Lady Allan) and Will Davis (Jack Price).
Cynthia von Buhler is the writer, director and set designer. PJ Mead is the associate director and business manager. Produced by Speakeasy Dollhouse.