The History of Perfect Crime

Perfect Crime's long and storied history has led New York Magazine to call it "a true New York mystery" and the New York Times to call it "an urban legend". It 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 requests to change the title to Guilty Hands and star either Mary Tyler Moore or Elaine Stritch, Manzi went to Hollywood and wrote several screenplays, including two versions of the movie 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 the longest-running play in the history of New York theater, on or off Broadway.

'The Cal Ripken of Broadway'

Leading lady Catherine Russell, who has starred in the show since its first performance, has never taken a sick day or vacation day since 1987, a feat which landed her in the Guinness World Records. Russell's incredible streak has been featured on Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show and Good Morning America and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News and numerous other publications including People, which dubbed her "The Cal Ripken of Broadway".

Since Perfect Crime opened in 1987, Russell has spent over 17,000 hours on-stage. She has shot 89 different men and kissed 57 others. Over 83,000 bullets have been fired on-stage and over 5,000 prop coffee cakes have been eaten. Amazingly, the show has employed 237 actors during its nearly 27-year existence.

A Storied History

Perfect Crime has played to many different houses over the years. Here's a bried history of when and where the show played in New York since 1987:

  • The Courtyard Playhouse, Greenwich Village
    (Apr. - Aug. 1987)
  • The Second Stage
    (Aug. - Oct. 1987)
  • The Forty Seventh Street Theater
    (Oct. - Dec. 1987)
  • Intar
    (Jan. - Apr. 1988)
  • The Harold Clurman Theater
    (May 1988 - Aug. 1990)
  • The Forty Seventh Street Theater
    (Aug. - Dec. 1990)
  • Theatre Four
    (Jan. 1991 - Sept. 1993)
  • The Forty Seventh Street Theater
    (Sept. 1993 - Jan. 1994)
  • The Duffy Theatre
    (Jan. 1994 - Apr. 2005)
  • The Theater Center
    (Apr. 2005 - Present)