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Off-Broadway’s ‘Perfect Crime’ commits to its 30th year

Psychiatrist Margaret Brent (played by Catherine Russell)

Psychiatrist Margaret Brent (played by Catherine Russell) is interviewed by Inspector Ascher (Richard Shoberg) in the Off Broadway production of "The Perfect Crime." Photo Credit: The Perfect Crime / Graham Dougherty

Who says crime doesn’t pay?

It’s been paying off in a big way for “Perfect Crime,” the Off-Broadway hit that’s the longest- running play in New York City history. Come Monday it will begin its 30th season, having racked up 11,899 performances. Warren Manzi’s whodunit takes place in the home of shrink Margaret Brent, whom police suspect has murdered her husband. As a detective tries to solve the case, the plot thickens amid a stew of red herrings and clever twists.

Key to the show’s success has been Catherine Russell, who has played Brent since “Perfect Crime” opened. “The challenge for me is to make every performance different,” she says. “The material is the same each performance, but it’s made different by the energy of the audience, and whether I’m having a good day or a bad day. I’m having a really good time doing it.”

Russell, who’s only missed four shows, is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most performances of a theater actor in the same role. In all that time, she has shot 94 men and a total of 100,576 bullets have been fired onstage.

Performances are at the Anne L. Bernstein Theater in The Theater Center in Times Square (1627 Broadway). For tickets ($60), call 212-921-7862 or go to ticketmaster.com

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