‘Perfect Crime’ writer Warren Manzi dies in Lawrence
By NBP Staff | February 16, 2016, 11:54 EST
LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) – Playwright and director Warren Manzi, whose cat-and-mouse thriller “Perfect Crime” is the longest-running play in New York history, died Thursday of pneumonia in Lawrence, Massachusetts, according to the show’s publicist, Daniel DeMello. Manzi was 60.
“Perfect Crime,” which opened in April 18, 1987, is now in its 29th year, led by actress Catherine Russell, who has played the role of a wealthy Connecticut psychiatrist – and potential killer of her husband – over 11,800 times.
Manzi, a 1980 graduate of the Yale School of Drama, wrote “Perfect Crime” in 1980, while working as Tim Curry’s understudy as Mozart on Broadway in “Amadeus.” He later directed plays by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Samm-Art Williams.
Born in Manchester, New Hampshire, on July 1, 1955, Manzi was raised in Massachusetts, according to the New York Times. The newspaper said he attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.
Manzi had acting roles in films such as “Nuts,” which starred Barbra Streisand in 1987, and 1986’s “The Manhattan Project” with John Lithgow. A veteran of New England theater, Manzi also occasionally acted roles in “Perfect Crime,” according to Playbill, a theater publication, which like the Times said Manzi often rewrote the script.
“He sometimes would give me a rewrite as I was trying to get onstage, and I would have to slap him,” Catherine Russell, the drama’s star, told the Times. The paper said she has missed just four performances since 1987, to attend family weddings.
Manzi also wrote short plays, such as “One for the Money” and “The Queen of the Parting Shot,” the Times said. It said he had lived in Lawrence in recent years.
“Perfect Crime” is currently at The Anne L. Bernstein Theater on Broadway at 50th Street.