This week, we grabbed our magnifying glasses and followed the clues to New Paradise Laboratories’ site-specific mystery Gumshoe, which takes place deep in the bowels and throughout the corridors of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Afterward, we went even further and tracked down the company’s innovative founder and artistic director, Whit MacLaughlin.
On the case
MacLaughlin, who arrived in Philadelphia after more than 20 years with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, brought New Paradise Laboratories’ (NPL) founding ensemble here in 1996. Some of the company’s members have gone on to become this city’s most recognizable onstage faces (Lee Ann Etzold, Jeb Kreager, Matt Saunders, Mary McCool), and the company and its members have also seen much success in New York (NPL won an Obie Award for 2000’s The Fab 4 Reach the Pearly Gates) and elsewhere. NPL has created roughly one original work per year since its founding, and this year, they’ve paired with the Free Library and Rosenbach Museum to present Gumshoe. Listen in to learn the difference between fact, fiction, and falsehood, and — perhaps most importantly — how to escape a maze.