Jennifer Morrison has learned a lot about escort services lately.
In “The End of Longing,” a new Off-Broadway black comedy from MCC Theater, written by and starring “Friends” alum Matthew Perry, she plays Stephanie, a misfit escort who falls for Jack (Perry), an alcoholic photographer.
“She’s addicted to the money and control of being an escort,” Morrison says eagerly, “and so I’ve had a chance to dive in and do all the research for that.”
Hmm . . . and what research would that be, exactly?
She laughs, admitting it’s been “graphic” — but not what you might think.
Morrison has been reading memoirs by and about escorts, collecting real-life anecdotes for her character’s back story, and checking out escort websites to get a sense of the branding and lingo.
Still, she notes, that’s nothing compared to Perry, who is making his New York play-writing and stage acting debut. He must work on character and performance while simultaneously penning rewrites to the script.
She knows the drill.
Last year, the TV star (“House,” “Once Upon A Time”) launched her own production company and directed her first feature film, “Sun Dogs,” an offbeat comedy about a guy desperate to become a Marine. And failing. Multiple times. She also stars in the film, which debuts at the Los Angeles Film Festival later this month.
“Once you step into these other shoes, you know what it takes to create something from scratch, to look at a script and not just be thinking about one character but the entire picture.”
For stars looking to rev their creative engines in more ways than just the ones we associate with them, the transition can be tough.
Perry, of course, is used to this. A gifted comedian, he’s displayed dramatic chops on shows like “The West Wing” (earning two Emmy nominations) and the recent Reelz Channel miniseries “The Kennedys: After Camelot,” playing Ted Kennedy.
“I think we have a shorthand with each other,” says Morrison, noting how they’ve both been lucky enough to enjoy stints on long-running television series, and have risked crossing mediums.
It’s all in the attitude — and this applies to any job, industry or hobby, she explains.
“When you’re passionate about something and throw yourself into it a thousand percent, people feel and respond to it.”
WHAT MCC Theater’s “The End of Longing,” a play by Matthew Perry, starring he and Jennifer Morrison, with post-show cast member talkbacks (June 12 and 19) and audience discussion (June 14 and 21)
WHEN | WHERE Extended through July 1; Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St., Manhattan
INFO $30 to $89; call 866-811-4111 or visit mcctheater.org