PERFECT CRIME, Warren Manzi's long-running funny, romantic thriller, will celebrate its 25th anniversary Off Broadway today, April 18, 2012 with performance number 10,233. PERFECT CRIME is the longest-running play in the history of New York theater.
The celebration will include a 7pm performance of PERFECT CRIME followed by a 9:15pm anniversary party at the Snapple Theater Center. 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, 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 over 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. Amazingly, the show has employed 237 actors during 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 (Georges in the 2004 Broadway revival of La Cage Aux Folles; Broadway's Mamma Mia!, Company, Crazy For You, Woman of the Year, They're Playing Our Song, Little Me, Footloose, Zorba, Big: the musical); television veteran George McDaniel (Hill Street Blues, Little House on the Prairie, Dallas, Cagney & Lacey, Mama's Family, Saved By The Bell, ER, The West Wing); Patrick Robustelli (Guardian Star); and Richard Shoberg, who played Tom Cudahy on ABC's All My Children for 24 years. Jeffrey Hyatt is the director.
Tickets for PERFECT CRIME are available by calling the box office at (212) 921-7862 or Ticketmaster.com at (212) 307-4100. Student rush tickets ($26) are also available by calling or visiting the box office. The performance schedule is as follows: Mondays at 8, Tuesdays at 8, Wednesdays at 2, Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 2 & 8, Sundays at 3 & 7:30.