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Comedy Whodunit SHEAR MADNESS Makes New York Premiere Tonight at New World Stages

The hit comedy whodunit SHEAR MADNESS begins performances tonight, October 22nd, at New World Stages. Opening night is set for November 11th, 2015.

Bruce Jordan directs a cast that features Jordan Ahnquist, Adam Gerber, Jeremy Kushnier, Kate Middleton, Patrick Noonan, and Lynne Wintersteller.

SHEAR MADNESS is America's hilarious whodunit where the audience gets to solve the crime. Set in a local hair salon that turns into a wacky murder scene, the play is filled with up-to-the-minute humor and is different every time you see it!

It all began in the summer of 1976 while Bruce Jordan was working at a theatre in upstate New York. He came across a play entitled Scherenschnitt, which was written in 1963 by German writer and psychologist Paul Pörtner. The playwright had written the script to use as a study of how people perceive or misperceive reality. The brief play was set in a unisex hair salon and revolved around an off-stage murder of a concert pianist. Subjects were asked to solve the murder based on their individual perceptions of the events and the six stereotypical characters surrounding the murder. Bruce was intrigued by the concept and suggested that he and Marilyn Abrams stage the play in Lake George. Marilyn read Portner's original script, which she described as 'primitive' and says that if she hadn't known and trusted Bruce, she 'would have run for the hills'! She did trust him and they opened the newly titled Shear Madness in 1978 with nothing more than a basic outline of a script. Bruce and Marilyn performed the lead roles as well as helmed the production. Being on stage each night, Marilyn experienced the "magical" chemistry between the actors and the audience and was acutely aware of the audience's response to Shear Madness. Bruce and Marilyn immediately purchased the world stage, screen and television rights to the play.

Marilyn and Bruce always had New York City in mind: "Our initial plan was to open Shear Madness in New York after a Boston tryout, but the tryout was so successful that it didn't make any sense to close. We had received several New York offers but they just didn't seem right to us. With Boston and then Philadelphia running, we set our sights on Chicago, Washington, DC and San Francisco, and licensed successful productions across the United States and around the world. New York has always remained on our radar, and when the Shubert Organization bought New World Stages, we thought 'Let's go!' Now, after many offers, we've found the perfect team to bring Shear Madness to NYC. So, after 36 years of 'trying out' in Boston, 28 years of 'previews' at the Kennedy Center, 5 years in Philadelphia, 18 years in Chicago, and 5 years in San Francisco, we are prepared for the big time. New York has always been our destination, we just took a short detour."

About the Cast:

Jordan Ahnquist is thrilled to join the team bringing Shear Madness to New York City after learning the ropes as part of the Boston company at the Charles Playhouse. Jordan has worked with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Speakeasy Stage Company, Lyric Stage Company, New Repertory Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, and The Gamm Theatre, among others. Some favorite credits include Hamlet, Big River (IRNE nom), Heartbreak House, MR G, Tartuffe, and Anything's Dream.

Adam Gerber portrayed Ryan in Barrington Stage's Engagements and Caleb in George Street's The Whipping Man, along with numerous appearances at The Old Globe, including All's Well That Ends Well, The Merchant Of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pygmalion and Othello. Select appearances include Lebensraum (Off-Broadway) and Hikobae (The Galaxy Theatre) in Tokyo. Adam holds an MFA from The Old Globe/USD (Darlene Marcos Shiley Award) and is a graduate of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.

Jeremy Kushnier most recently portrayed Iago to critical acclaim in Pittsburgh Public Theater's production of Othello. On Broadway he covered Jesus, Judas and Pilate in the most recent production of Jesus Christ Superstar, played Tommy Devito in Jersey Boys, Ren in Footloose and Roger in Rent. National tours include Radames in Aida and the Doctors in Next to Normal, Tommy Devito in the Chicago, Las Vegas, and Toronto companies of Jersey Boys. His most recent TV credits include "Person of Interest," "The Good Wife," and the series finale of "Nurse Jackie." Jeremy has released two independent albums of all original music.

Kate Middleton has appeared Off-Broadway in The Late Christopher Bean (TACT); Asymmetric (59E59 Theatres/Ground UP Productions); Pratfalls (Abingdon/Ground UP Productions); Avow (NYIT Best Lead Actress); The Other Place (MTC workshop). Regional: Alabama Story (world premiere), Few Good Men (PTC); Circle, Mirror, Transformation (Kevin Kline Award, St. Louis Rep); Perfect Wedding (GEVA/Cape Playhouse); Noises Off; Boeing, Boeing (DTF), Huntington, Triad Stage, Playmakers Rep, NJ Shakespeare, Weston Playhouse. TV/Film: "Mercy" (NBC, recurring); "Law & Order;" "Law & Order: SVU;" Comedy Central; upcoming film April Flowers. www.katemiddletonactress.com

Patrick Noonan is thrilled to be bringing this role to NYC. He was last Off-Broadway in 2006 with the original cast of Almost, Maine. He has played Nick in numerous cities including Washington DC, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Albany. Other favorite roles include: King Arthur (Spamalot), Lord Edgar (Irma Vep), Charlie (On Golden Pond). TV: "Orange Is The New Black," "Blue Bloods," "30 Rock," "Life on Mars," "The Black Donnellys," a few "Law and Order"s, "Hope and Faith," "Unfiltered" (pilot in production). Film: The Princess Diaries, Choose.

Lynne Wintersteller's Broadway credits include Grand Night For Singing; Annie. National Tours: Sister Act; Company; Annie. Off-Broadway: Closer Than Ever (Drama Desk Best Actress Nomination); Mother Jones, Castlewalk, Richard Cory (NYMF Outstanding Performance Awards). Regionals: Glass Menagerie; Clybourne Park; Circle Mirror Transformation (Kevin Kline Award); Dinner With Friends; Sunset Boulevard; The Light In The Piazza; Ghost & Mrs. Muir (LA Ovation Best Actress Nomination). TV: "Violet (Marvel Series)," "Madam Secretary," "Law & Order: CI," "Total Security," "Big Brother Jake," "Chappelle's Show." www.lynnewintersteller.com

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg



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