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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
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"...I was swept up into the universe of the story, moved by the songs, and shaken by the stunning set designed by Bob Cardana and his many associates. It’s a mind-blowing, immersive experience." 

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"Jason Spraggins has constructed a shocking, sickening, and yet subtly healing dose of truly dynamic historical fiction; Matt Glickstein has made catchy earworm musical magic with themes that seem problematically unfit for such treatment..."

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"The entire effect pulls you into the monstrous mystery tour; if you decide to go, accept the horror as part of the plan, then suspend all expectations and assumptions and buckle-up for the carnival ride." 

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"I believe a work like this does honor the victims of violence, but also asks us to soberly study the pervasive, all-too-human sources of violence, from serial killers and state executions. Whoa."

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"Delivered to a nearly full room of theatregoes, the Playhouse's newest production engaged the audience's emotions with a sincerity I didn't expect."

Dr. Erin Hoover, The Herald Citizen
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"True crime is criticized for affirming the killer's 'main character' status in murder. Crawlspace represents the other side of the bill with the 'boys of the night' and
'living dead' scenes."

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"Music Director Mendy Richards brings Matt Glickstein's cinematic score to life, laced with a '70's disco-funk to match that decade's high-waisted bellbottoms and
delightful earthtones."

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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 17 performers (12 main roles/ five supporting) or with full casting of 21 performers (12 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
copryright 2020 Glickstein & Spraggins
all rights reserved-  including public performance

"Backdoor Playhouse Premiers a Killer Show"

-Bee Goodman, The Oracle
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