Underground-theatre hit immerses you in a 1930s speakeasy, complete with live jazz, hooch, and a real-life murder

Lower East Side

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In a Nutshell

Investigate a real-life murder in an assiduously recreated speakeasy; drinks, jazz, burlesque, and cannoli round out the evening

The Fine Print

Expires Apr 12th, 2014. This deal is for the purchase of a ticket. Refundable only on day of purchase. No value after experience date & time have passed. Please provide email address at checkout, which SideTour will provide to facilitate redemption. Gratuity included. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

What You'll Do

Speakeasy Dollhouse: Bloody Beginning begins with a series of cryptic emails filled with news articles, court documents, and autopsy reports. It continues with you receiving directions to a secret downtown location—and a password. That password opens the door to a Kubrickianly detailed slice of 1930s New York nightlife. As you munch on cannoli and play cards with a cast of unsavory characters, you'll get to witness a shooting before attempting to figure out who did it—and why.

  • Immerse Yourself in a Prohibition-Era Speakeasy
    Wander a period-perfect recreation of a 1930s speakeasy, bakery, and alleyway.

  • Investigate a Mysterious, Real-Life Murder
    Chat with a cast of characters involved in the 1930s murder of Frank Spano, the grandfather of the event's hostess.

  • Party Like It's 1929
    Indulge in live jazz from Howard Fishman, burlesque performances, and old-school cocktails.

Each event is capped at 115 participants; each event requires a minimum of 1 participant in order to take place.


Your Host

Cynthia Von Buhler Cynthia Von Buhler
Playwright and Creator of Speakeasy Dollhouse: Bloody Beginning

Like all good mysteries, Cynthia von Buhler's career as an artist, performer, playwright, and author began with a murder—her grandfather's. When speakeasy owner Frank Spano was shot by a neighborhood barber in 1935, the case was inexplicably dismissed, its true motivation a riddle that would haunt the family for decades. Taking a page from 1940s detectives, Cynthia recreated the crime scene in an elaborate dollhouse diorama using all the autopsy reports and municipal records available. That diorama garnered the attention of the New York Times and blossomed in 2010 into Speakeasy Dollhouse, an immersive theatrical staging wherein the actors and showgoers were the "dolls." Among those dolls have been Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Edgar Oliver, and others.

Originally intended as a one-night affair, Speakeasy Dollhouse extended its run multiple times to keep up with its perpetually sold-out status. Cynthia Von Buhler has followed up this success with Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth, an equally immersive production that posits a surreal, Shakespearean conspiracy behind Lincoln's assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth—fueled liberally with live jazz, burlesque, and moonshine.


Where You'll Meet

The event will be held at a Lower East Side location. The exact address will be shared after purchase.


When You'll Meet

The event takes place from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the following date:

  • Saturday, April 12


  1. 1

    Lower East Side

    Norfolk St

    New York, New York 10002

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