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a true crime musical 


"I have been closely following the shows at Cookeville’s Backdoor Playhouse (BDPH) for 15 years, and I may have just witnessed their best production ever."

-Andrew William Smith,
Teacher on the Radio
link to full review

In 1979, a famed psychologist and researcher is invited to Chicago by a desperate defense attorney to interview an accused killer. The Doctor, a survivor of abuse, is studying the origins of violence as related to the human brain and has special interest in the case.


The prisoner, John, is facing trial for multiple counts of murder after dozens of bodies were found buried under his home. Hoping to save himself from the death penalty, this braggadocios murderer must convince the Doctor to sign off on his claimed multiple personality disorder to bolster his insanity plea.


During her sessions with John, his narrative conjures flashbacks of his difficult childhood, adult life, murders, and arrest. The Doctor follows the unreliable narrator on a tour through his memories--blurring the line between reality and John’s psyche. His family, victims, and alleged multiple personalities take center stage as the killer relives key moments from his dark and tragic life.

John, on the one hand, was a family man, community leader, out-going neighbor, and part-time clown known for hosting elaborate yard parties. On the other hand, he was a dangerously troubled and violent criminal. As the show progresses and the trial date looms, the Doctor begins slipping dangerously deeper into John's troubled mind. His unsettling memories challenge her beliefs about mental health while also forcing her to face ghosts from her own past.


​​The show is in two acts. It can be performed with a minimum casting of 18 performers (13 main roles/ five supporting) or with full casting of 22 performers (13 main/ 9 supporting).

The running time is 160 minutes.

Crawlspace is based on the story of a convicted serial killer. Although inspired by his own words and the public record of his life and crimes, this is a work of historical fiction. Certain names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. Fictional characters have been added, and liberties have been taken that differentiate this work from the true-life events. The musical is a theatrical re-imagining of the story and horror of the case and those who suffered in its wake. 

Crawlspace: A True Crime Musical
Ⓒ 2020 Glickstein & Spraggins
all rights reserved-  including public performance

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