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Deadly

book and lyrics by Vanessa Claire Stewart

music by Ryan Thomas Johnson

A brand new musical about the women who were murdered by America's first serial killer! Webster Conservatory alum, Vanessa Claire Stewart, has returned home to workshop her musical, Deadly, in an entirely digital medium in the time of Covid.

Deadly looks at the legend of HH Holmes, the man who killed several women before and during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, but through the lens of the women who were his victims. In an effort to reclaim their stories, Deadly gives a voice to 7 women who were allegedly murdered by Holmes, exploring their lives before Holmes and how they might have fought back in the afterlife. 

I have the absolute honor of playing Anna "Nanny" Williams, a young Baptist school teacher from Midlothian, Texas who fell victim to Holmes after her sister, Minnie Ruth Williams, became engaged to him. Anna had traveled to Chicago to visit her sister and was met with a gruesome and mysterious death. Not only am I living out my horror movie dreams, I'm having the time of my life singing beautiful gospel songs with my dear friend, Savannah Nicole Smith, who is playing Minnie. 

It's been a wild ride figuring out how to do a musical on Zoom. It's been a lot of trying and trying again, testing out framing, headphones cutting in and out, "I think you're muted" moments, and so much discovery. We've had safe prop/set dressing pick-ups, safe costume fittings and pick-ups, and the rest has happened all in our own homes. It's been a very creatively fulfilling project and I cannot wait to see the final project. Deadly premieres on December 11th!