In The Morgue of the Mastermind: Norman Baker Speaks in Eureka Springs

Before I recommend something, I like to have experienced myself, whether it be a show, spa, hotel, restaurant, trail or some other attraction. But sometimes I help promote things that I’ve just heard great things about or that appear to be worth it.

I received a press release this week about a new theater production in Eureka Springs. When I read that Sunday matinees were being added due to overwhelming popularity, I figured this guy must be on to something. The title alone has me intrigued.

Here’s the press release in its entirety. I’ll let it speak for itself.

Keith Scales

(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) — THE NEWS: Due to the overwhelming popularity, Keith Scales, creator and star of the Midnight Theatre production of “In The Morgue of the Mastermind: Norman Baker Speaks” has announced the addition of a 2 o’clock matinee every Sunday beginning March 18. Currently this introspective look at the man who turned the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa here into a cancer curing hospital has performances at 11 o’clock every Friday and Saturday night. The production is staged inside this hotel’s Faculty Lounge located on the fourth floor across the hall from Dr. Baker’s Bistro & Sky Bar.
“Not many Historic Hotels of America have paranormal activity and even fewer offer live theater in reference to it,” noted Scales. “This 125-year-old mountaintop spa resort has both. Plus, hotel guests and visitors are asked to come and enjoy the experience. Baker’s true back story is fascinating.”
Since seating is limited, guests are encouraged to make reservations early by going to the Crescent’s front desk, calling 479-253-9766 or going on-line to
THE BACK STORY: In 1937 the legendary Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas became a cancer hospital, operated by a man called Norman Baker – a controversial figure, to say the least. Vaudeville performer, inventor, mail order magnate, nationally famous broadcaster, brilliant organizer and businessman, Baker was a man of many parts – but he was no doctor. In 1940 Baker was convicted of fraud and sent to Fort Leavenworth Federal Prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.
Who was this man who wore purple, made several fortunes in different enterprises and hoped some day to be President of United States? Quack doctor? Natural healer who threatened the medical establishment? Sadistic mass murderer? Madman, genius, flim-flam man? Urban legends have obscured the truth.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa sent resident Ghost Tour manager Keith Scales on a journey of investigation, in search of the actual Norman Baker. A classically trained actor, Scales presents his findings in dramatic form, portraying the notorious Norman Baker in the very building in which he met his nemesis. Guests and visitors to The Crescent can now meet the man face to face, and hear his story from his own point of view every Friday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoons when the hotel presents “Midnight Theatre: In the Morgue of the Mastermind: Norman Baker Speaks”. Performances are at 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. respectively in the hotel’s Faculty Lounge located on the fourth floor of what many say is “America’s most haunted hotel”.
The Creator & Star: Born and raised in London, England, Keith Scales is the recipient of many awards and fellowships as a writer, actor and director. Keith has acted in more than 200 plays and directed nearly 100 productions in professional regional theatre. From 1993 – 2009 he served as artistic director of the Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon, for which he developed English versions of 16 ancient Greek plays. In 2011 he relocated to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to concentrate on the creation of original works for page, stage and screen. He is currently the Ghost Tour Manager at the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa and coordinator of the annual Eureka Springs Paranormal (ESP) Weekend.

Here is a brief overview of Scales career and accomplishments:

2010: Presenter at the South Coast Writers Conference, in Gold Beach, Oregon

2008: Winter Writer-in-Residence at Fishtrap, Oregon.

2006: His play What Mad Pursuit, produced at West End Theatre, Portland, Oregon, 2006, was a finalist for the Oregon Literary Arts Award for Drama.

2002: First recipient of the prestigious Regional Arts and Culture Council Masters Fellowship. He used the grant to visit sites associated with the Grail legend in Cornwall and the South of France, in order to develop an original stage production of the Perceval legend.

1992: Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship to travel to Kyoto to study Japanese traditional and avant-garde theatre.

1989: Named by the state newspaper, the Oregonian, “the theatre artist who made the most significant contribution to theatre in Oregon in the decade”

1988: Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship to attend the Yeats festival in Sligo, Ireland in preparation for an unprecedented production of the entire Cuchulain Cycle at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, and a symposium: The Theatre of Myth, at Portland State University.

Screenwriting with Cynthia Whitcomb, founder of the Willamette Writers’ Conference
Portland, Oregon 2006

Playwrighting with Irene Maria Fornes,
Seattle, Washington, 1990

Presenting Classic Greek Drama Today
Getty Center, Los Angeles, 2004


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