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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Shear Enjoyment

There is a mystery brewing at a unisex hair salon on Newbury Street. A famous pianist is slaughtered in her upscale apartment. The police are on the scene and questioning the suspects, which include some eccentric and colorful employees and patrons. This crazy comedy and murder mystery is the hilarious tale of Shear Madness, the longest running, non-musical play in the history of American theatre.

This crazy, zany comedy opened its doors 25 years ago at The Charles Playhouse in Boston. The play takes place on Boston’s very own Newbury Street in a fictional unisex hair salon. The owner, Tony Whitcomb, is as eccentric as they come. The beautiful but ditsy Barbara DeMarco is Tony’s assistant hairdresser. The play opens with Whitcomb and DeMarco singing to the music on the radio as they service customers. The play is filled with witty Boston humor and makes many references to our wonderful sports teams. Customers’ Muffy Shubert and Edward Lawrence arrive and add even more spice to the already insane salon. Shubert is a wealthy senior who lives for the lime light of the Boston social scene, while Lawrence is a sleazy antique dealer. During all of the madness in the salon, the famous pianist Isabelle Turnery is murdered in her apartment on the top floor. All members in the salon are suspects and this is when the audience comes in.

Boston Police officer Nick Rossetti and his partner Mike Thomas come to the scene of the crime and request the help of the audience to find out who committed the gruesome murder. The audience asks questions and interacts with all of the cast members. This allows for even more comedy, and the audience is pulled into the thick of the action. It becomes laugh out loud mayhem, and everyone is involved. The audience gets a chance to vote and whomever the audience votes for is the killer.

At this particular show, Edward Lawrence got the highest vote and was pinned the killer. After shuffling through the whole of the show the audience is able to see how and when Edward got the job done.

Michael Fennimore, a professor in the Theatre Arts Department at UMB, plays the part of Officer Rossetti. Fennimore has been with the cast of Shear Madness since June of 1986. He teaches audition techniques, as well as acting at UMB. Fennimore referenced UMB in the play when he was asked to add up the votes and he replied, “I went to UMass – I know how to add.”

It was a hysterical romp through a not-so-average day at an average hair salon. The audience’s interaction filled the playhouse with high energy, making for a non-stop series of laughter and smiles. I highly recommend seeing this show to anyone who wants a good laugh at a good price. Shear Madness runs Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Sunday 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The price for tickets is $34. For more info call the box office at (617)-426-5225.