Step into Prohibition-Era NYC in an Immersive Murder Mystery

Encounter a dazzling 1930s whodunnit based on a real murder case, complete with mobsters, moonshine and burlesque.

Step into Prohibition-Era NYC in an Immersive Murder Mystery
  • Cynthia von Buhler is an artist, performer, playwright, author and the brainchild behind “Speakeasy Dollhouse”
  • Take part in a meticulously researched and staged recreation of a Prohibition-era murder
  • Immerse yourself in 1930s New York City, with its gangsters, speakeasies, burlesque and jazz

Based on a true murder case, “Speakeasy Dollhouse” immerses you in a Prohibition-era time capsule. It starts with a series of emails featuring actual news articles, court documents and autopsy reports to study before the event. Then, dress for a 1930s night on the town, show up at the secret downtown address and whisper the password to gain entry to another world. Meander through a speakeasy bar, a private alleyway and a bakery, all the while becoming a full-fledged participant in the unfolding drama. Eat cannoli, play cards, sip hooch, enjoy burlesque performances—and witness a shooting, funeral, murder investigation and trial. Replete with live jazz by Howard Fishman and his band, this interactive theatrical production offers up a meticulously detailed slice of New York City history.

Cynthia von Buhler is the brainchild behind “Speakeasy Dollhouse.” Her 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, Cynthia first recreated the crime scene in an elaborate dollhouse diorama that garnered a recent profile in The New York Times. In October 2010, she brought her miniature set to life in a unique theatrical staging. Now, she’s thrilling audiences and critics with an extended run.

Photo: Margee Challa


Meet the Host

Cynthia von Buhler - Playwright and Creator of “Speakeasy Dollhouse”

Cynthia von Buhler

Playwright and Creator of “Speakeasy Dollhouse”

Cynthia von Buhler, a.k.a. Countess von Buhler, is an award-winning artist, performer, playwright and author. She created “Speakeasy Dollhouse” to explore the mystery of her grandfather’s unsolved murder.
Cynthia, whose mother was born the day her grandfather died, began interviewing family...

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