Backstage Pass: Model Victoria Henley has a rousing good time at the Cotton Club

Exclusively written for the Asher Theatre, “Murder at the Cotton Club” is a romping, rousing, action-packed, whodunnit spectacular, featuring toe-tapping musical numbers (complete with beautifully performed instrumentals and soaring vocals), dazzling fashions from tthe Roaring 20s, a campy speakeasy vibe and a delectable multi- course meal, all packed within the duration of a two hour show.

The backdrop of this hilariously twisted and wildly unique interactive show is New York City’s legendary nightclub – The Cotton Club, which was the most celebrated music and dance spot from the 1920s–1940s. It featured some of the top entertainers of the era including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Lena Horne and the Nicholas Brothers.

Following a high octane musical introduction, complete with beloved tunes from Frank Sinatra and many other top-billing “big band” artists, each character is introduced to the audience one by one, and various clues are cleverly presented to help the attendees derive at the fateful conclusion of “Who Dunnit? How Dunnit? And Why Dunnit?”

One of the “grand dames” of the Cotton Club is grappling with complicated feelings for the unscrupulous owner, while the other mysteriously left a high end, glossy, and glamorous headlining gig in New York City in favor of a much less prestigious gig at the Cotton Club. The current headlining performer, who lacks the talent and motivation needed to properly execute his duties, stirs massive resentment from the other performers, including his “wanna-be” entertainer brother, an extremely proper and amicable fellow who just may be hiding some dark secrets behind his unassuming smile.

The enigmatic owner displays excellent talent, yet seems to have made an expansive list of enemies throughout the years through his shady and suspect business practices, while a drunken and slovenly Cotton-Club regular, may be a bit more cunning and sly than he first appears. A brash, straight talking, no-nonsense detective arrives to the scene of a grisly murder of one of the aforementioned characters in order to help solve the crime and bring justice and order to the seedy Cotton Club. Is the detective really one of the “good guys” or did he play a hand in one of the most shocking murders to ever take place at this legendary establishment?

Sheets of paper are provided for guests to carefully take down the clues and hidden messages are provided throughout the show in hopes of arriving at a definitive conclusion.

A scrumptious dinner is served in courses throughout the show, including: salad, roll, chicken, carrots and mashed potatoes.

Each attendee at “Murder at the Cotton Club” is in for a delightful treat as the undeniably gifted and inimitably distinctive comedian and impressionist , James Stephens III (who has been featured on a myriad of talk shows, television specials, and internationally viewed appearances including HBO, Showtime and “The Tonight Show”), who is also the co-owner of The Asher Theatre, performs a sample of his plethora of renowned celebrity impressions. Stephens maintained a jovial rapport with the engaged audience throughout his set, providing clips of the many public figures he impersonates, including Chris Rock, Redd Foxx, Lil Wayne, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. This triple-threat expertly encapsulates each person he impersonates in vocality and mannerisms, and he  also can play piano like Duke Ellington, trumpet like Louis Armstrong, dance like Sammy Davis Jr. and sing like a concert headliner.

The immensely talented Stephens also wrote and directed “Murder at the Cotton Club.”


PHONE NUMBER: (843) 903-3100

INSTAGRAM @theashertheatre