Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Like to solve murder mysteries?  Are you a fan of CSI, Law and Order and NCIS?  Do you enjoy solving puzzles?  Then "Perfect Crime" by Warren Manzi may be the thrill driven whodunit romance with your name on it.  Since 1987, theater lovers have been intrigued by its convoluted clues and red herrings.  Who is dead and how where they murdered?  What's the motive?  Who can you believe? Is there a serial killer on the loose or just a lot of people who like to play with guns and knives?

The Snapple Theater at 210 West 50th Street, New York City is the scene of the crimes and you're invited to play detective, if you dare.  Since 1987 except for four performances, Catherine Russell has played the aggressive and opinionated psychiatrist Margaret Brent who is at the heart of the action.  Her extremely wealthy husband, also a psychiatrist, may be dead.  At least that's the claim of the family cook who feels she witnessed his demise.  But when the cook herself turns up dead, who is there to question?

Police Sargent Ascher, a determined Richard Shoberg, arrives on the Brent's doorstep and ends up so believing Margaret's smooth explanations that he finds himself romantically spellbound by her mysterious web of answers. When she produces her husband (Jack Koenig) for his inspection, the detective finds the cook's story suspect.

In short order, the Sargent is told that Margaret often acts out murder plots with her patients, especially Lionel McAuley (George McDaniel) who may or may not be crazy, as well as with a young woman who strangely appears at her door one day seeking help.  Margaret has just written what she hopes will be a best selling book and she is preoccupied with its promotion on David Breuer's (Patrick Robustelli) television show to insure its success.

In the midst of the book launch, the threat of a baseball bat killer sends fear through the neighborhood.  As the bodies pile up, the clues point to a painting on the fireplace that may or may not be significant.  The director Jeffrey Hyatt keeps the action moving rapidly, so you need to keep your wits sharp.

For tickets ($50-60), call the Snapple Theater at 212-921-7862 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.  Performances are Monday at 8 p.m., Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m., dark Thursday, Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  For more information go to www.perfect-crime.com.

While you can go any day except Thursday, plan on a whole Saturday at the Snapple, with a matinee of "The Fantasticks" at 2 p.m, "Me and Jezebel" about Bette Davis at 5 p.m. and an 8 p.m. visit to "Perfect Crime."  For theater lovers, it's a trifecta of treats.

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