30 years ago today, in the basement of a dive bar in Cambridge, The Mystery Café was born and 700 mirrors were broken in the process. We sold out from day #1 and the thrill ride began. Our first show, appropriately called Death and Taxes, premiered on April 15th in 1988 at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge. Produced by company founder David Goldstein, the script was written by Phil Lebovitz and the original cast included Floyd Richardson, Robin Allison, Jerry Lehan, June Lewin, Paul Bronk, Cyndi Freeman, and John Thayer.
David was only 25 years old when he started what was to become his first company (in addition to Head First Events, how now also owns TeamBonding, Recipe for Success, and Boston Chocolate School). Little did he know that his new business would not only lead him to success, but also into the arms of the girl of his dreams – Wendy Goldstein. She ran the box office, he ran the business, and together they ran the company that defined the entire murder mystery dinner theater genre that has spread to almost every major city in the world.
At one point in time there were 21 Mystery Café global locations, including Copenhagen and Toronto! Over the years we have created dozens of shows and worked with hundreds of performers, some of whom have gone onto becoming famous.
Brandeis alum Mary Faber is a well-known actress on Broadway, most notable for her work playing Kate Monster in the Tony Award-winning show Avenue Q and for starring in the 2011 revival of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette.
Tony Award nominated singer and actor Constantine Maroulis from American Idol, Rock of Ages and Jekyll and Hyde worked with us for a time on our Boston Harbor Mystery Cruises.
We also had the pleasure of collaborating with Whitney Avalon, the creator of Princess Rap Battles!
Even James Earl Jones, famous for being James Earl Jones, made a special guest appearance in one of our shows!
For David Goldstein, the most fun celebrity encounter was when the Mystery Café was hired by Hugh Hefner to host a mystery dinner at the Playboy Mansion for the popular E! show The Girls Next Door.
It’s no mystery how the Mystery Café became the best in the business – through the years we have consistently worked with the most clever and creative performers around. Our actors and musicians feel like they are part of one large family and we are proud of the supportive theatrical community we’ve all helped to create.
Many of them have worked with us (and each other) since we first opened, with some longtime costars even forming relationships and getting married along the way. We have also helped several guests propose marriage during our shows, hosted countless bachelor and bachelorette parties at our public events and wrote a customized wedding mystery for a couple this past summer where the officiant died and the guests needed to solve the mystery!
Looking back on the many happy memories we’ve created over last 30 years, we can’t help but also look forward to the next 30 years as we continue to entertain public and corporate audiences around the world. Our smash hit Clue Live Mansion Mystery continues to sell out shows in New England so we are looking to expand it to other US cities. We have also gotten into the Escape Room business with both portable and mobile games for groups of all sizes. This summer we will bring back our Mystery Scavenger Hunts around Boston’s Faneuil Hall, and the Haunted Dinner Theater will return to Salem this fall.
So happy birthday Mystery Café, and cheers to the next 30 years!
Mystery Cafe, New England Fun, LLC.
18 Washington Street,
#200 Canton, MA 02021