- $59 for one ticket to Speakeasy Dollhouse presents Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic (up to $85.50 value)
- When: select dates, July 10–August 29 at 8 p.m.
- Where: Liberty Theater
- General admission
- Door time: 7:30 p.m.
Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic
- The backstory: In the 1920s, Florenz Ziegfeld created the titillating follies show The Midnight Frolic, which led to an affair with one of his showgirls, Olive Thomas. When he wouldn’t leave his wife for her, she reinvented herself as a silent film star and married fellow actor Jack Pickford. But on their Parisian honeymoon, Olive was poisoned. The circumstances surrounding her death—was it an accident, murder, or suicide?—remain a mystery.
- The experience: half decadent extravaganza and half noir mystery, this immersive spectacle invites audiences to freely wander the expansive Hotel Ritz Paris and Cabaret du Néant as they piece together what really happened to poor Olive.
- What they’ll encounter: colorful yet mysterious characters engaged in burlesque performances, aerial acts, and possibly foul play, as well as spine-tingling tales about guillotines, communicable diseases, and the tortures of the body.
- How to get even more involved with the story: by taking on a role yourself and purchasing some hard stuff at the bar, such as a “Bloodbath,” made from Absinthe, Campari, St. Germaine, red wine, and orange juice.
- Press quotes that accurately sum up the night: New York Times calls it “an evening of dark revelry” and TheatreMania declares that it’s “like being inside a Baz Luhrmann movie.”
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: The Bloody Beginning, an immersive theatrical staging wherein the actors and showgoers were the "dolls." Among those dolls in the still-running show 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 more eclectic events, including 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.