Murder, Mystery, and Music sets the stage for Bay Street Cabaret’s New ‘Killer’ Show

Hannah Dodson, Chrstie Creme (Kevin Hincapie), and Travis Cheek perform “Minnie the Moocher” during an April 2022 performance of “Time Traveling Drag Queens in the 1940s!” at the Bay Street Cabaret. | Photo by Chris Stanley

The Bay Street Cabaret returns this August with a “killer” new show. 

This time it’s a comedic murder mystery entitled “Murder at the Bay Street Cabaret.” 

The audience gets to help drive the plot of the show that incorporates some of the greatest Broadway hits performed live.

“One of the cast members jokingly suggested we do a murder mystery. I laughed it off at first because it seemed too difficult to pull off, but the idea stuck in my head and started to take shape,” said writer Rick Garman.

This show is an original script by Garman, and he is the director as well. The mystery focuses on a group of performers at a fictional “Bay Street Cabaret” who are both potential victims and potential murderers, each introducing themselves and their motives through hilarious scenes and comedic songs.

“Before our last show I asked the audience what they thought of doing a murder mystery cabaret and the response was enthusiastic, so here we are. The challenge was finding a way to create an experience where the audience gets to decide who the killer is, who got killed, and how it happened,” said Garman.

“For this show we embraced the offbeat humor of comedic murder mystery movies like “Clue” and “Murder by Death” to create a big, broadly comedic romp.  The only tears we want this time are from laughing,” said Garman.

The audience will get three cards when they enter - one that reads “I’m the Murderer;” one that reads “I Got Murdered;” and one that reads “How I Got Murdered.”  

During the first act, the audience will meet our characters through scenes, monologues, and songs and at intermission they get to vote on who gets murdered and who the killer is by dropping the cards in ballot boxes for each character.

All is revealed in the second act as the performers adapt their lines and music to what the audience decided. Because of this Garman wrote multiple versions of every scene in the second act, one where the character is alive and one where they have been murdered.

Toward the end of intermission, the boxes will be collected, and the votes will be quickly counted and then the second act will be adjusted accordingly based on the results.

“We’ve gotten pretty good at finding ways to create storylines and characters that set up theatrical cabaret performances of songs from many genres, so that wasn’t the hard part,” said Garman.

The challenge for Garman was finding a way to create an experience where the audience gets to decide who the killer is, who got killed, and how it happened.

“There’s a scene and a song at the end performed by the murderer that everyone in the cast must learn in case the audience votes for them to be the killer. It’s definitely ambitious, but we’re always looking for ways to push the envelope and I think this does that in a really fun way,” he said.

The audience will hear possible motives through scenes and songs for why they might be the killer or why they got killed and the murderer will be revealed at the end of the second act with a special song.

“Because the audience votes will determine the second act, the shows on Friday night and Sunday night will most likely be different.  So, we’re encouraging people to come Friday and then come back to see it again with a new killer and crime on Sunday,” said Garman.

This show features songs from “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “A Chorus Line,” “Mean Girls,” and many more.

The cast features both new and familiar faces including Damon Banks Jr., Travis Harold Coles, Hannah Dodson, Cami Nicole Hall, Carman iCandy, Valerie America Lavelle, Gwen Leahy, Rayshawn Roberts, and Sallie Just Sallie, winner of Connect Savannah’s Best Drag Queen of 2022 award. 

The show’s technical direction is being done by Erin Muller and Chris Stanley.

“The show is laugh-out-loud funny and has some of the best Broadway music ever written,” said cast member Cami Nicole Hall, “and letting the audience decide the mystery creates a thrilling, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience for them and for us.”

“Everyone is really excited about it.  It’s a unique and fun challenge as a performer to walk that kind of tightrope, but all of them are vets of the stage, so for them it›s more thrilling than scary.   I’m a little stressed out about it, not only because we’ve never done anything like this before, but also because the audience could vote to make me the murderer or murder victim, so I have to walk a similar tightrope and I’m afraid of heights,” said Garman.

The shows will be Fri., Aug. 19 at 7:30pm and Sun., Aug. 21 at 7:30pm, at Club One’s Bay Street Theatre. Visit BayStreetCabaret.com.


About The Author

Kareem McMichael

Kareem McMichael is a filmmaker, documentarian, writer, and multimedia content creator. The Macon native enjoys entertainment, and sharing with locals and visitors’ stories about Savannah’s art and culture scene. When he is not working, he enjoys relaxing at the beach, grabbing a drink, hitting a fun art event,...
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