Death at the Garage Sale or, Downsizing is Murder!


Death Garage Sale
Apply for:
  • Share This Show

Facing retirement, the Baxters plan their first big garage sale. Not too computer-savvy, their unprotected Wi-Fi is being used by the kid next door to sell drugs. A SWAT team arrives at their house, and a dead body is discovered next door— and the Baxters are the prime suspects! A true comedy-mystery in the tradition of Columbo, Death at the Garage Sale delivers plenty of twists, turns, and laughter. Downsizing, as they say, is murder!


Act I, Scene 1
Chris Baxter and her best friend Dee Wilson, two married middle-aged neighbors, are discussing items of interest, from beauty treatments to downsizing for retirement. Chris is a woman with a plan: to get herself and her husband comfortably retired ASAP, even if it kills them. It might.

In another part of the house, we meet Mike Baxter and his good friend Bill Wilson (Dee's husband). As they enjoy a basketball game, they discover the amazing abilities of Mike's new remote. Mike confesses to having made a financial mistake that will interfere with Chris's retirement dream; the Baxters are currently in a bit of financial trouble.

In a rough part of town, two young men meet to do a drug deal. The dealer is a 20-something suburban kid named J.J. He has been selling his wares to high school friends, and doing it online. The buyer is Stevie, a high school dropout. Stevie wants some pills and trades info for them. It seems J.J.'s little business has upset the main guy, the supplier, and there may be consequences. J.J. agrees to let Stevie crash at his house. No worries: if there is trouble, Stevie's got a gun.

Two months later, and Chris's downsizing plan has begun: re-paint and re-stage living room and get ready for tomorrow's garage sale. A truant officer appears at the door. He is looking for a neighbor's son, J.J. Taylor. Later, realizing they have seen J.J., they call 911, only to be informed that their school district no longer has truant officers. So, who was that guy?

Act I, Scene 2
Next day, they prepare for the garage sale. Packrat Mike and downsizer Chris bicker over what stays and what goes. J.J. appears, agitated, with a gun. Mike tries to calm him, then leaves him in the garage to find Chris. In a frightened panic, the kid calls the police and pins the drug sales on the Baxters. Oh, and he mentions there's a dead body next door. Then he plants evidence and hides amid all the mess and confusion of the garage sale. When the Baxters come back, J.J. and the gun are gone. Suddenly a flash-bang goes off, the lights are cut, and a SWAT team storms the Baxter’s' house!

Act II, Scene 1
The police are now investigating the Baxters for selling illegal drugs and the murder of a young man next door. They interrogate Bill and Dee, Chris, and then Mike. Everyone's statements— despite their best intentions— make the situation worse. It is apparent that Mike is the prime suspect.

That night, the Wilsons and Baxters try their best to unravel the case. J.J. comes out of hiding and needs their help. It turns out the dead body is Stevie. J.J. says he didn't kill Stevie, and although he didn't see who did, he has proof Mike didn't do it. But he needs the Baxters and the Wilsons to help him arrange a meeting with the drug lord, under the nose of the police.

Act II, Scene 2
The Baxters, using old Halloween costumes from the garage sale, dress as bikers to meet with the drug kingpin. They set a trap for him, but the bad guy turns out to be one of the detectives on the case. Just when you think our friends have lost all hope, the Wilsons arrive with the good cop. Order is restored, and the guilty party gets hauled off to jail. The last word belongs to Chris, who happily reminds Mike that their garage sale will be the best ever, because of the publicity the drug bust will bring!


A funny and clever murder mystery—a lotta laughs!

–US Stage & Screen


Chris Baxter – Suburban wife in her 60s, near retirement age. Driven to stay young, and to retire as comfortably as possible. Very nice, very organized lady.

Mike Baxter – Chris' husband, 60s, near retirement age. He is a packrat, sweet, smart, and wishes his wife would ease up a bit.

Dee Wilson – Neighbor, 60s, newly retired. Practical, funny, loyal to her friends.

Bill Wilson – Dee's husband, 60s, newly retired real estate lawyer, loyal to his friends.

Det. Gary Harden – Crisp, no-nonsense, "just the facts" kind of Joe Friday detective. He works in Narcotics.

Det. Len Edder – Homicide. Relaxed, easy-going, likable, a bit older. Can turn on the good cop as easily as the bad cop.

J.J. Taylor – The neighbor kid, 20s, just made it through high school. Suburban rich kid, neglected by socialite parents. Spoiled.

Stevie – Knows J.J., needy, not too bright. Neglected by everyone. Drug addict.

SWAT #1 – In charge. Eager to get in good with the detectives.
Arresting Officer
(SWAT #2 and #3 and the Arresting Officer are nonspeaking roles.)

Casting Note: The SWAT team can be doubled by Stevie, J.J., and Len. SWAT helmets and goggles and/or masks are an effective disguise. Additionally, Stevie can play the one SWAT team member that speaks, as well as the Arresting Officer at the end. By doubling in this way, the play can be produced with a cast as small as eight.
In the original production, Stevie doubled as a SWAT team member, and another of the SWAT team doubled as Arresting Officer, resulting in a total cast size of nine.

Additionally, the Detectives can be cast male or female, old or young.

Setting: Living Room and Garage of the Baxters' home.

Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups, please fill out an application for your personalized quote. 

Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials). 

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

"Death at the Garage Sale has got a lot going for it… plenty of funny lines, a solid cast and a clever murder mystery with a twist." –Lancaster Online

"Haynes DiSavino has written plenty of funny lines that feel real." –Lancaster Online

"Much of the charm of the show is in the repartee between the couples." –Lancaster Online

"Very funny... plenty of belly laughs!" –US Stage & Screen

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you digitally by your Licensing Representative. 

The Authorized Materials/Production Package for Death at the Garage Sale or, Downsizing is Murder! are all fulfilled digitally and consist of: 

Acting Edition

Stage Manager Script

Director’s Script