"Columbo" Will Hem, Haw and Solve a Crime in Pre-Broadway Tour of New Mystery

News   "Columbo" Will Hem, Haw and Solve a Crime in Pre-Broadway Tour of New Mystery
 
A new play featuring the famed TV detective Lt. Columbo was a hit at the first International Mystery Writers' Festival in Owensboro, KY, in June. The New York Post reports that the frumpy gumshoe will take to the road in a national tour of the play, Columbo Takes the Rap.

Owensboro RiverPark Center president and CEO Zev Buffman, who produced 40 Broadway shows (including Little Foxes with Liz Taylor), 100 national tours and mounted the mystery fest June 12-17, will produce Columbo Takes the Rap by the character's co-creator William Link. The destination is Broadway.

No creative team or timeline has been announced.

In the new play, Link, the original co-creator of the Emmy Award-winning "Murder She Wrote" and "Columbo," pits cigar-chomping, absent-minded, working-class Columbo against a high-toned record exec.

According to the earlier festival notes, "Columbo brings his wit and wisdom to the scene of a modern crime where he confronts a powerful music producer and uncovers clues to a great murder mystery involving two rap stars."

Link created Columbo with writing partner Richard Levinson. Peter Falk famously played the role on television in the 1970s, and there was also a "Mrs. Columbo" spinoff. The Post reports that a national tour of the play will precede a Broadway engagement, and that a star is being sought to play the villain. Buffman announced that Columbo would be played by Chicago actor Norm Boucher, who played the role in Kentucky.

Link won two Emmy Awards, the Edgar Award, The Golden Globe Award, The Peabody Award, the Christopher Award, The Hall of Fame of Television Arts and Sciences, and is a past president of the Mystery Writers of America.

The Columbo character appeared in another stage play, back in the 1960s: Prescription: Murder. It was also on TV in 1968, with Falk as the charming, rumpled dick.

"Columbo" and "Murder, She Wrote" co-creator Levinson died in 1987. In 1983, he and Link were Tony Award-nominated for the book of the musical Merlin.

Zev Bufman's Broadway producing credits (under the last name Bufman, with one less "F" than he has now) include Jerry's Girls; Private Lives with Liz Taylor; 1983's A View From the Bridge; 1982's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The First; Oh, Brother!; The Little Foxes with Liz Taylor; 1980's Brigadoon; 1980's West Side Story; 1979's Oklahoma!; 1979's Peter Pan; Paul Sills' Story Theatre; and more.

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