Thursday, April 12, 2012
PERFECT CRIME, THE LONGEST-RUNNING PLAY IN NYC HISTORY, CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY
PERFECT CRIME, Warren Manzi’s long-running funny, romantic thriller, will celebrate its 25th anniversary Off Broadway on Wednesday, April 18, with performance number 10,233. PERFECT CRIME is the longest-running play in the history of New York theater.
The celebration will include a 7 p.m. performance followed by a 9:15 p.m. anniversary party at the Snapple Theater Center, 210 W. 50th St. at Broadway. The entire audience for that evening’s performance is invited to the party, which features dinner and an open bar.
“We’ve had such terrific audiences over the past 25 years,” said Catherine Russell (in photo), the play’s leading lady and general manager. “They figure out the clues, laugh along at the jokes and have helped make the show a New York institution.”
Russell has starred in the play since its first performance and has never taken a sick day or vacation day, a feat which landed her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Since PERFECT CRIME opened in 1987, Russell has spent more than two years of her life (nearly 17,000 hours) onstage performing the role of psychiatrist and potential murderer Margaret Thorne Brent.
During PERFECT CRIME’s historic run, Russell has shot 89 different men and kissed 57 others. Over 83,000 bullets have been fired onstage and more than 5,000 prop coffee cakes have been eaten, and 237 have performed its 25-year existence.
The show has been modernized through the years to keep up with pop culture and technology. An on-set television was upgraded to a flat screen, and references to “The Phil Donahue Show” were changed to “Oprah” and then “the morning shows”. A character’s net worth was increased from $1 million to $50 million, and then increased again to $600 million.
PERFECT CRIME, New York’s answer to The Mousetrap, was optioned for Broadway in 1980 while author Warren Manzi was playing Mozart in the Broadway production of Amadeus. At the time, Manzi was the youngest American to have a play optioned for Broadway. After he refused prospective producer Morton Gottlieb's request to change the title to Guilty Hands and star Mary Tyler Moore or Elaine Stritch, Manzi went to Hollywood and wrote several screenplays, including two versions of “Clue” for John Landis.
The script sat in Manzi's drawer for seven years until he became the artistic director of a theater company that produced the play. Initially opening as an Equity Showcase on April 18, 1987 for a four-week limited run at The Courtyard Playhouse, PERFECT CRIME has since become what New York Times critic Jason Zinoman called “an urban legend” thanks to its incredible staying power.
The cast of PERFECT CRIME also includes John Hillner, George McDaniel, Patrick Robustelli and Richard Shoberg. Jeffrey Hyatt is the director.
For more information, visit WWW.PERFECT-CRIME.COM