Entertainer Bill Campbell grew up listening to his grandparent’s stories about their days as bootleggers, so it’s not surprising that when it came time to create a theme show he chose a speakeasy.
"One of my grandfathers started out as a peddler, but he became a whiskey bootlegger and, thanks to Prohibition, he was able to buy a car, then a home and then a golf course," says Campbell.
Campbell is using these stories as he prepares to host his first Speakeasy show at Miami’s popular Magnum restaurant on Wednesday, July 2, from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Campbell’s Magnum Speakeasy --which is a one-night only event – will feature the music of the Roaring Twenties, costumes and Jazz Age cocktails.
The event features Campbell at the piano, leading his cast of 13 performers in recreating the clandestine and raucous atmosphere of a true Miami speakeasy during Prohibition.
'We are going to recreate the illegal ‘speakeasy’ on a grand scale using sight and sound, with period décor, and clothing, and showcase music from that time as well," said Campbell.
"The music from that period is amazing," he added. "This period was the birth of jazz, so there's Fats Waller, of course. And America's most beloved songwriters came of age during this period as well, including Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and more."
The entire Magnum staff will also be in costume and Campbell is suggesting that patrons don their gangster’s spats, beaded headbands and feather boas to join in the fun. 'Dressing up is optional, of course, but it will add to the atmosphere," he noted.
"Also, the fun doesn't end when the Speakeasy does, because then we are going to swing right into our regular 'Open Mic' night, when I invite anyone up to the piano to sing," Campbell added.
Over his career, Campbell has headlined or played in bands across the United States. Since relocating to South Florida, he regularly holds court at The Breakers and the Ritz-Carlton, as well as at Magnum, where is "Legends of Open-Mic Show" on Wednesday nights have become known for their group songfests.
The Zagut Guide has hailed Magnum, one of Miami’s most popular restaurants, for its "excellent food and wonderful service." The reasonably priced menu's specialties include Magnum Owner Jeffrey Landsman’s famous Southern Fried Chicken, as well as steak, fish and lighter choices as well.
There is no cover but dinner reservations for this special event are a must. There is also large lounge area for those who just want to drop in and order regular cocktails, or those made famous during Prohibition, like the highball, Planter's Punch, and Bacardi Cocktail. Magnum's lounge was voted "Best Bar" in 2013 in the Miami New Times.
Magnum Restaurant and Lounge is centrally located at 709 N.E. 79th St., Miami, Fla., 33138. Free, secure parking.
Call (305) 757-3368 for reservations to the Magnum Speakeasy.
More info: Magnum Restaurant