Alan Visits America’s Largest Theatre Company
(inhales & exhales) She came in, that dame. She had questions.
I had answers. How was I gonna solve the
mystery of the missing pen? – Huh?
– Is it a special pen? Like, you need to say, like,
the jade pen or something, like that, you need
to add something. ‘Cause it’s like just
missing a normal pen. It was red;
that’s not that normal. – Okay. Like, red ink?
– Yeah. – Okay, that’s not…
– See! Now you get it. ♪ Welcome to Curious Business. I’m your host,
Alan Shane Lewis. Each episode, I take you
behind the scenes of some of the most unique and successful
businesses out there. Now, have you ever been
hanging out with your friends and thought, “Which one of them
is a homicidal murderer?” This is something I think
about all the time when I’m hanging out with
my closest pals and, quite frankly, has ended a
lot of relationships and left me very lonely. Luckily, I’m in
Grand Rapids, Michigan, to meet a new friend,
Scott Cramton, owner of the hugely successful
Murder Mystery Company. He’s invited me to take part
in one of their high-end murder investigations
that will satisfy my homicidal investigation urges.
I’m ready to have some fun. Let’s go. ♪ Hi, Scott?
Oh… oh, there you are. – Oh, over here.
– How you doing? Welcome to The Murder
Mystery Company. This is really cool.
Thanks for having me. So, we need to
properly attire you. So, let’s start with,
why don’t you take that off? – Okay, cool.
– Alright. And you know what’s coming,
the trench coat. The trench coat. I feel very
mysterious already. Get you a full
detective, yeah. There you go, looking good. – Fits like a dream.
– Alrighty. (accent)
Yeah, see. (laughs) Yeah, that was good,
that’s good. Nobody ever gets
tired of the Bogart. – No?
– Okay. ♪ So, Scott, what is The
Murder Mystery Company? What we do is, we do a
two-hour interactive murder mystery in which
somebody is going to die because it’s murder mystery. Now, what makes what
we do so popular and so interesting is people in
the audience actually play suspects and the killer
could be absolutely anybody. Alright, ladies
and gentlemen… could I have all the suspects,
the nametag suspects, please stand up and go to
this side of the room. – What is your name?
– Mr. Greenspan. Mr. Greenspan… What makes our murder
mystery so special is people get a immersive experience
where they’re a part of it. The TV show that you’ve
always played at home with, you get to be in it. – Like in Murder She Wrote?
– Yeah, yeah. You could be
Angela Lansbury. ♪ So this is our
actual headquarters. Now, we’re set up in
27 different cities, but this is where
everything actually happens. This is our first
poster we ever did. So, this is my
personal phone number. The company’s been
running 17 years now. It can almost vote,
next year. Oh my god, you’re right. In your wildest dreams,
did you ever picture it becoming something
as big as this? I never, ever thought
that this would be this big. I, I’m constantly floored,
every day. ♪ We did one social media
premiere for Suburbacon with Matt Damon that was
directed by George Clooney. A party for Al Pacino. We did the Howard Stern
Christmas party. Was he wearing sunglasses
during the Christmas party? I don’t think he’s legally
allowed to take them off. (laughs) This is our sales center. Everybody here is
responsible for all 6,500 shows that we did
just last year. And let me show
you our sales board. Do you have to
ring something when you pull something through? – Yeah, exactly.
– Sweet. An average day, we’ll get
anywhere between 100 and 300 leads. And then, every single time
somebody books something, they actually put
a dot right here. Ah… Look at David H. David H.
is killing it right now. David H. is killing it. – David.
– Hey, David H. David H., I see you. ♪ So, one of the coolest
parts about working here is the costumes. And, as the head of our
costumes and logistics for the whole company, this is… – Anessa Johnson.
– Hi. – Hi, nice to meet you.
– Nice to meet you, yeah. Ah, now, Alan is going to a
old Hollywood, 1930s… – Mm.
– Murder mystery tonight. And I think we need to
have you try some stuff on. ♪ (sighs) Alright, that is definitely
not something they wore in the 1930s. Alright, so… – And your name is…?
– Alan. – Alan.
– Yes. Ah, we don’t have you
on the list, but what the hell. You go in the room and
there’s gonna be a lot of people dressed up. It’s going to have an
old 1930s Hollywood vibe. And, you’re going to be
seated with some of your new best friends. So, have you ever been
to a murder mystery? – No, just a regular murder.
– (laughs) Everybody, this is none
other than Professor Purple. Professor Phineas Purple. I didn’t go to school for
you not to call me Professor. Absolutely. You’re going to start
learning a little bit about what you might expect. All of you are here to solve
a murder that may or may not have happened. The true killer could
be absolutely anybody. The important
part is though, teamwork. Here’s my team.
We’re team murder, Murder She Wrote…
and, and Directed; that’s our name.
It’s pretty good. – And then…
– (glass shatters) Some unexpected
stuff might happen. Maybe somebody’s gonna die. Ladies and gentlemen… Penelope Peacock will
not be coming tonight. – She’s dead!
– What?! (gasps) Eventually, it’s going to
be your time to actually solve the crime. Ah, you see, Peacock and I
may have been… – Well…
– You smushed. – Had been seeing each other.
– Up high. Well… Yes. Obviously, very
respectful of her memory. Respectful high-five. Respectfully,
yes, respectfully. – Respectfully.
– Somber. When you get up,
you’re going to use the money at your table to
bribe suspects, trying to get clues. You’re going to be writing
stuff down on paper and you’re going to be really
trying to solve this crime with your table team. You have 3 minutes
for investigation time. Begin! Tell me a clue
about another suspect? Well, Mr. Greenspan was
sleeping with the victim. I’m just saying.
You didn’t, you didn’t
get it from me. Did you have a grudge against
the victim, by any chance? Well, not me, so… that sucks. I don’t trust her,
I don’t trust her. Every which way you turn,
there’s a new clue and something else is puzzling. – (gasps)
– This is a vial of poison. How did a vial of
poison get in here first? Through the big
opening at the top? (laughs) Ultimately, you’re gonna
end up with an experience of something that is unique
and original to your life, and the show you see is
never gonna happen again. This a really fun night.
I’m not gonna lie, I could, ah… (laughs) Oh, that’s the time. Can you speak to how starting
The Murder Mystery Company has changed your life? It’s changed everything. I was a poor kid with a
cleft palate in Detroit. When I was born, they, they
told me that people wouldn’t understand me unless
they can read my lips. This has been nothing
short of miraculous. By volume, we’re the largest
theatre company in America. We have a shot of getting
to 8,000 shows and that is our goal this year.
We are very close. We’re on pace
right now, so… What’s the next step for
Murder Mystery Company? As far as the
next step goes, it’s always
been bigger, more. I like to go in roads that
are not necessarily the most traveled and
I like to really just drive a big car on those roads. As opposed to having a
tiny car in a road that a million people are traveling. We have a solved case.
That’s right! You all did a great job
writing things on paper. When you leave today,
no one can take that from you. But only one person
can actually win. Can I get a
drumroll, please, for our detectives
of the night… Murder She
Wrote and Directed! Yeah! (cheers & applause) So, Professor Purple
got it right. Yes, yes. And I think I could make
a pretty good detective. (cheers) (accent) Thanks for
watching Curious Business. Each episode, I visit some
of the entrepreneurs behind some of the most unique
businesses out there. (clears throat) Now, why would anyone want
to drive a tank over a car? Well, spoiler alert,
’cause it’s obviously fun. Now I gotta go get
to the bottom of it. Make sure to subscribe so you
see how that unfolds, alright. Also, make sure to click
that bell icon so you get updated whenever
I do new stuff. Cool. Later. Tang-tang-tang-tang-tang-tang.