(images from the original performance produced by Moveable Mystery Dinners)

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A comical, interactive noir mystery in three acts.

3m, 4m, 1 live pianist (optional)

SYNOPSIS:

Los Angeles, 1932. The stock market is three years down the drain. People have more than their share of sorrows and, under federal law, not a glass to drown them in. Thankfully, there are places like the Limbo Club—illegal watering holes where otherwise law-abiding folk can enjoy a quiet drink and a little entertainment.

Except instead of a few naughty numbers from the club’s sultry singer, guests are given a front row seat to murder. The club’s owner has just turned up dead, and it’s up to Detective Johnny Lombard to solve the case before the police arrive and shut the Limbo Club down.

An interactive dinner theater mystery, “Speakeasy, Die Easy” is an homage to the hardboiled detective fiction of the 20s and 30s. Contains some expletives and innuendos.

CHARACTERS:

Jonathon “Johnny” Lombard – (30s) A hardboiled private detective, recently the subject of some notoriety.

Lydia Lawson – (30s) The bartender and manager of the Limbo Club, and Johnny’s old flame.

Valerie Cross – (20s-30s) The Limbo Club’s vocalist and resident sex kitten. Vince’s squeeze.

Oliver “Oli” Ward – (20s) A down-on-his-luck comedian with a gambling habit; has a crush on Helen.

Helen Manners – (20s) A North Carolina native with dreams of being an actress; has a crush on Oli.

Dolores Powell – (20s) A sensationalist reporter for a Los Angeles newspaper.

Gloria Churchill – (30s-50s) A local missionary on a quest to rid the world of vice.

Vincent “Vince” Hayes – (40s-50s) The owner of the Limbo Club and a first-rate heel.

Sgt. Edward Dalton – (40s-50s) An L.A. cop and friend of Johnny’s.

Helen and Dolores are played by the same actress.

Vince and Dalton are played by the same actor.


EXCERPT FROM THE SCRIPT

VALERIE
You men are all alike. Tough as nails on the outside, but the first sign of tears you melt inside like warm butter.

JOHNNY
          (Going to piano)
Speaking of tears, I don’t see you shedding any for the late Mr. Hayes.

VALERIE
I just put my mascara on.

JOHNNY
Vince was making eyes at Helen earlier this evening.

VALERIE
Detective, you honestly think I’d be jealous of that little bit player?

JOHNNY
Vince was your meal ticket, wasn’t he?

VALERIE
I prefer to think of it as a free exchange of commodities.

JOHNNY
Maybe Vince wasn’t thinking as highly of your commodities as he used to.

VALERIE
Believe me, Detective, whatever they’re saying on Wall Street, my stocks are always up.

(VALERIE runs her foot up the side of JOHNNY’S leg.  JOHNNY backs away, and retrieves from his pocket the jewelry box VINCE had earlier.)

JOHNNY
I checked Vince’s office and found this in the trash bin.
     (He opens the box.  It’s empty.)
Looks like whoever rubbed Vince out took a little souvenir.

VALERIE
And what is that supposed to prove? I’ve got plenty of necklaces to choose from.

JOHNNY
Maybe you wanted more.

VALERIE
I look better in less.

JOHNNY
You were the last person here to see Vince alive.

(VALERIE slips off the piano.  She moves in sultry circles around JOHNNY.)

VALERIE
I was still waiting for Vince in my room when I heard all the commotion. Looks like I waited for nothing.

JOHNNY
I’m sure that you’re just heartbroken about that.

VALERIE
I’m sorry Vince is dead, but he was no one-in-a-million. He wasn’t irreplaceable.

JOHNNY
Let’s say, for the moment, that I believe you...

VALERIE
You’re too kind.

JOHNNY
Still, you knew Vince better than anyone else here.

VALERIE
Some parts of him better than others.

JOHNNY
Can you tell me anything about him I don’t already know?

VALERIE
He had a mole on his left thigh.

JOHNNY
Is there a reason you keep dancing around my questions?

VALERIE
Most men like watching me dance.

JOHNNY
I don’t have a lot of time, Valerie. I’m giving you a chance to help me get to the bottom of this.

VALERIE
I figured you for a man who likes to be on top.

JOHNNY
Will you knock it off? If I can’t solve this case in the next half hour, the police are going to storm in here and haul everyone downtown.

VALERIE
I like a man who can haul me downtown.

JOHNNY
Alright, that one didn’t even make sense.

VALERIE
I don’t know what to tell you, Detective. Vince wasn’t a popular man.

JOHNNY
     (Re: jewelry box)
Maybe not, but his jewelry sure was.

VALERIE
     (Right up against him)
You can search me if you want.

JOHNNY
You think I won’t?

VALERIE
I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.
  (JOHNNY looks like he might just succumb when there’s a piercing scream off stage.  VALERIE remains by the piano as JOHNNY dashes off to investigate.)
Darn.  Just when we were getting to know each other.


To license this play or for a copy of the full script, go ahead and shoot me a message. Be sure to include the intended performance dates, the location and seating capacity of the venue.

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