Destination Salem Blog

“Goodnight, Captain White” - A Comic Whodunit

The cast of

This weekend the creators of Cry Innocent will reveal their newest production, Goodnight, Captain White on the stage at the Griffen Theatre in Salem.  This comic whodunit presents the legendary story of the 1830 murder of Salem Sea Captain White like we've never seen it before. 

Visitors may be familiar with the story because it is featured in most trolley and walking tours of Salem. Captain Joseph White, a rich, elderly, retired shipmaster, was murdered while sleeping in his Essex Street home. The murderers were local, the prosecuting attorney famous.  Senator Daniel Webster, hired by the White family to prosecute for the Commonwealth, described the case thus: “It has hardly a precedent anywhere; certainly none in our New England history. It was a cool, calculating, moneymaking murder. It was all "hire and salary, not revenge.”

Playwright Mark Stevick, who also wrote Cry Innocent, first heard about the murder in the 1980s while on a private tour of the Gardner Pingree House—Joseph’s White home when the murder occurred. Years later, after launching Cry Innocent, he remembered the story. “We had discovered through Cry Innocent in those early years that Salem was a great place to make theatre from history,” Stevick says. “I wanted to write something for the cast that could be the next challenge--using all the interactive and improv skills they were honing through Cry Innocent. This was the perfect event.”

Good Night, Captain White provides an often-hilarious look at the ghastly crime, the missing will, and a plethora of macaroons.  The comedy bridges between 1830 and 2013, is rich with inuendo, and relies on a talented cast for improv and audience interaction.  It is, in short, a night of good fun (with a blunt object and a sharp instrument) and original telling of a great story.

Goodnight, Captain White will play Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays July 26th-August 3rd at The Griffen Theatre, 7 Lynde Street, Salem. For tickets and information visit  You can also find updates and photos from the show on Facebook.

Posted by Kate on 07/25 at 01:59 PM Permalink