After 26 Years, Washington's Shear Madness to Make Room for Second City

News   After 26 Years, Washington's Shear Madness to Make Room for Second City
After a 26-year run at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center, Shear Madness will take a hiatus next summer to make room for Chicago's Second City show The Second City’s Almost Accurate Guide to U.S. History, according to the Washington Post. The new piece by the famed comedy troupe is reportedly commissioned by the Kennedy Center.

Shear Madness, which opened its Off-Broadway premiere Nov. 11, is the Guinness Book of World Records' longest-running play in the history of the U.S. The comedic and interactive whodunit recently celebrated its 35th year of performances in Boston and debuted at the Kennedy Center's Theater Lab 26 years ago, having now played over 12,000 performances.

According to the Washington Post, the nature of Shear Madness' tenancy at the Theater Lab following the Second City engagement remains unclear, though the Kennedy Center says the long-running show will return in fall 2016. "One possibility that has been discussed, those with knowledge of the talks say, is for Shear Madness to rotate into the lab at certain times of the year," reports the Post.

Shear Madness is adapted by Bruce Jordan — who also directs — and Marilyn Abrams, after Paul Pörtner's German psychodrama. Set in a unisex hair salon, the audience is invited to vote nightly on who is guilty and who isn't, producing varied results.

The comedy debuted at the Charles Playhouse in Boston in 1980, where it continues to run with an ever-evolving cast. It was voted Best Comedy of the Year seven times by the Boston Globe and recipient of the Best Play of the Year by both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Philadelphia Enquirer. The first-ever national tour kicked off in 2012, and it has since been seen around the U.S. and internationally.

The current, open-ended run at Off-Broadway's New World Stages features Broadway actors Jeremy Kushnier and Lynne Wintersteller. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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