“Lizzie Borden Took and Axe, gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41…” The lights come up as we see a little girl in a red dress jumping rope to the legendary rhyme.
It’s August 4th, 1892, an extremely hot summer day in Fall River, Massachusetts, when the bodies of wealthy businessman Andrew Borden and his wife Abby are discovered murdered in their home with what is believed to be an axe. Two others were home at the time: their daughter Lizzie and Bridget the maid. As the police detectives begin to unravel the case, Lizzie is eventually arrested, tried, and acquitted of the murders. But if she didn’t do it, then who did?
Could it have been Emma, Lizzie’s older sister, who was supposed to be out of town then, but no one checked? Perhaps it was Uncle John, who thought the family properties should be put into his name in the will. Maybe it was the Portuguese worker who was fired and held a grudge, or the stranger to whom Andrew refused to rent a store. There was Bridget, the Irish maid who heard absolutely nothing while resting in her room at the back of the house when the murders occurred. And, of course, Lizzie, who said she was in the barn out back, looking for lead sinkers in the loft for an upcoming fishing trip. As the saying goes, “Where there’s a “will,” there’s a way.”
In this fast-paced drama, the audience, as jurors, gets to vote “whodunnit,” and the quick third act decides who wielded the final blows to help solve the crime of the century.