Gordon in the News: last updated 09/27/2013

Sip, Savor and Sleuth at Salem’s Maritime History-mystery

For Immediate Release
September 27, 2013

Media Relations
Cyndi McMahon, cyndi.mcmahon@gordon.edu

SALEM, MA—This October, Rockafellas Restaurant serves up a 5-star event for the City of Salem's Haunted Happenings festival—blending an exquisite maritime meal designed by executive chef Bill Mallett and a notorious Salem murder, Goodnight, Captain White, imagined by the creators of Salem's favorite street theater production—Cry Innocent.

Goodnight, Captain White, Salem’s live maritime history-mystery, transfers the graceful Colonial Hall above Rockafellas Restaurant in the heart of Salem’s dining district after completing a sell-out summer run at the Griffen Theatre. Produced by History Alive!—the professional acting troupe at Gordon College—the comic whodunit retells the infamous 1830 murder of wealthy Salem sea captain named Joseph White—while treating audiences to a select menu of international delicacies ideally suited to the seafaring merchants of Salem’s Golden Age of Sail.

For two weekends starting October 11, Rockafallas’ Colonial Hall will become the backdrop of the 1830 Essex Street home of Captain Joseph White. As guests at the Captain’s party, evening audiences will enjoy a plated dinner & dessert; afternoon guests will savor a traditional New England tea—similar to high tea in the UK, but with regional specialties. Also on offer will be the long-brewed grudges and brazen scam that led to the Captain’s untimely death. Six of the historic characters conspire during the play’s first act until the murder is committed. During act two, audience members may reconstruct the suspects’ movements and grill them on their motives. Then with drinks to hand (“Salem Tea” and “Crowninshield Punch,” two vintage Salem recipes), the guests help Sen. Daniel Webster ferret out each evening’s killers. Which of the play’s five endings is performed depends on the vicissitudes of its audience.

More about the history behind the murder: On the morning of April 6, 1830, 82-year-old Captain Joseph White, famously wealthy and one of Salem’s most prominent citizens, was found brutally murdered in his bed. Soon arrested were Richard and George Crowninshield, two scions of another prominent family Salem family. Shortly afterward Joseph and Frank Knapp were also arrested. Richard Crowninshield, who delivered the mortal blow, hanged himself in the Salem Jail before he could be tried. Sen. Daniel Webster was retained to prosecute the conspirators, and both Knapp brothers were convicted and hanged. (The murder was the subject of a recent Smithsonian Magazine article and a 2011 book.)

Goodnight, Captain White will play at Colonial Hall, upstairs at Rockafellas Restaurant, 231 Essex Street. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, October 11th-13th and October 18th-20th. Tickets are available online. Tickets purchased at the door will be show-only (no high tea or plated dinner). See Goodnight, Captain White on Facebook to check the pre-party gossip.

For information, visit the productions media relations fact sheet, or contact Kristina Stevick, Artistic Director for History Alive! at Gordon College: 978.867.4518.


Gordon College is one of the nation's premier Christian colleges and located just north of Boston. We offer students extraordinary access to leading-edge opportunities for intellectual, professional, and leadership development to address the increasingly complex challenges of a global society. Gordon stands apart from other outstanding institutions in New England by combining an exceptional education with an informed Christian faith.


Goodnight, Captain White