, Salem, MA


July 25, 2013

Not your average murder mystery

Play on 1830 Salem murder, trial finds life at Griffen Theatre


This two-act structure is typical of dinner theater, where mysteries are presented that an audience then tries to solve.

That was how “Captain White” was staged in 1999 at the Lyceum Bar and Grill in Salem, then at Giordano’s Dinner Theater in Georgetown, where it ran for five months.

Lyceum was a fitting venue, Stevick said, because it inhabits the same space as the original Salem Lyceum.

That meeting place, which served as a forum for public discussion and scholarly lectures, was built in response to Joseph White’s murder.

“There was such a climate of fear — people were buying weapons — the selectmen decided to create the Lyceum to counter that fear,” Stevick said.

Although those citizens at the time were deeply affected by White’s murder, the story has never received the same level of attention as the Witch Trials.

Stevick thinks this has been in part out of deference to descendants of the families that were involved, which included at least one wealthy local benefactor.

Indeed, he only heard about the murder during a private tour of Peabody Essex Institute in the 1980s.

“They felt free to tell us the story of the Captain White murder; it’s something that was kept from official tours,” he said.

Years later, when he started researching the story, he learned more from an employee of the Institute, Nick Hammond of Beverly, who eventually revealed to Stevick that he was a descendant of the Crowninshield family.

“He didn’t tell me until the third time we met,” Stevick said. “He told me about a small display in the back of the carriage house, behind the Gardner-Pingree House,” which was originally Captain White’s mansion.

Stevick sought approval for his script from descendants of the families involved in the murder, before staging it at the Lyceum for the first time in 1997.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Dear Abby: Son-in-law’s abusive father makes gatherings painful Dear Abby: I adore my son-in-law, "Tom." He's a wonderful husband to our daughter. He's always inviting us to dinner along with his parents and family. We get along with them but can't stand how they treat Tom. We have never seen parents treat their

    July 28, 2014

  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday, July 26

    Looking for something to do today? Check out The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Shore religion news in brief Congregation Shirat Hayam is offering a free, five-week Hebrew Reading Crash Course on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. from Sept. 2 through Oct. 7, at the synagogue, 55 Atlantic Ave., Swampscott. Led by Nancy Miller, the course is open to the community and is

    July 26, 2014

  • North Shore religion calendar Wednesday, July 30 Book Club, 7 p.m., Aviv Centers for Living, 240 Lynnfield St., Peabody. Women of all ages are invited to a free book group with conversations about Jewish identity. Group will discuss "The Harem Midwife" by Roberta Rich. RSVP to Sh

    July 26, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Teen is looking for direction after high school graduation Dear Abby: I am an 18-year-old high school senior who is scared about what's going to happen after graduation. For the past three years I have known exactly where I'll be and what I will be doing in the general sense. Now that I have one more year to

    July 26, 2014

  • macaws Vet Connection: Pet birds need training, social interaction and time out of the cage People are fascinated with the big colorful birds on display at Animal Kingdom and wild bird sanctuaries. It's always fascinating to see someone walking down the street with a big-beaked bird on his or her shoulder as a companion. We are all drawn to

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ask Dog Lady: Her little dog is obsessed with food Dear Dog Lady: I have a 3-year-old, long-coated Chihuahua named Mexipep (after a brand of hot sauce). She has many fine attributes -- she's very sweet, not nervous and barky like the short-coated Chihuahuas can be. On the subject of food, however, th

    July 25, 2014

  • howe Book Notes: Local novelist sees ‘conversion’ syndrome in witch trials The parallels between 1692 and today are so close, they're frightening. That's one conclusion you could draw from reading "Conversion," Marblehead resident Katherine Howe's new novel, which compares the world of the Salem Witch Trials to the life of

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • vehicles Quick pick: Festival of vehicles

    Festival of vehicles Take a ride over to the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library for the 16th annual Vehicle Night on Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The festival of fire trucks, emergency vehicles, cruisers and snow plows takes place in the library park

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Friday's Best Bets Best Bets for Friday, July 25

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

NDN Video
Comments Tracker