See Jefferson Mays Celebrate His Record-Breaking 6,000th Stage Death in High Style

News   See Jefferson Mays Celebrate His Record-Breaking 6,000th Stage Death in High Style
Mortimer the Indian in The Fantasticks styles himself as The Man Who Dies, but he's gotten some serious competition over the past two years from Jefferson Mays, star of Broadway's A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, who celebrated his 6,000th stage death Oct. 14 with a mock funeral procession on West 48th Street in Manhattan.

Members of the production, which has been running since 2013 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, took part in the procession, all dressed in mourning attire. They accompanied Mr. Mays, who was laying in state inside a glass-sided horse-drawn hearse, to the theatre's stage door.

Mays plays multiple members of the D'Ysquith family, nearly all of whom meet untimely ends during the course of the musical. The show is scheduled to play its 800th Broadway performance Oct. 17.

When the procession arrived at the theater Oct. 14, co-star Bryce Pinkham made the following remarks: "We are gathered here today to pay our respects to a man who has not only slayed his audiences nightly but also has died more times than any actors in a single role in the history of Broadway. Today’s matinee performance will mark Jefferson Mays’ 6,000th death in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. The most remarkable thing about our dear friend Jefferson is not how willing he is to lay his life on the line for his craft, but rather how eagerly he springs back to life to do it all over again. Please join me in honoring the noblest victim I’ve ever had the pleasure of harming: Jefferson Mays.”

When the late Mays emerged from the hearse, he addressed the crowd with the following, “Marina Abromovic once said, ‘You can’t choreograph death, but you can choreograph a funeral.’ Well, I think we’ve proven this day that, at Gentleman’s Guide, we can do both. I’ve often fantasized of attending my own funeral, and God bless [producer] Joey Parnes. I turned to him one day and said, ‘A hearse. A hearse. My kingdom for a hearse,’ and lo and behold it happened. I shall make these remarks brief. Six thousand deaths only sounds like a lot. When you get to experience your final breath amidst such a wonderful company of fellow actors and musicians and crewmembers and producers, it is an unmitigated joy and I look forward to doing it several more times, at least. So please join me in the Walter Kerr for death number 6001 in just a few minutes.”
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