- CHARITY BENEFIT
Catherine Russell, who has starred in the Off Broadway thriller Perfect Crime for the past 25 years, received the Legend of Off Broadway Award at The Off Broadway Alliance’s annual awards ceremony yesterday June 19, 2012.
Russell has starred in Perfect Crime since its first performance on April 18, 1987 and has never taken a sick day or vacation day, a feat which landed her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Russell has spent nearly two-and-a-half years of her life – nearly 21,000 hours – onstage performing the role of psychiatrist and potential murderer Margaret Thorne Brent.
Russell was honored along with composer Gerard Allesandrini and actors Mary Louise Wilson and Kathleen Chalfant at a private 4pm awards ceremony at Sardi’s, the famed theater district restaurant located at 234 West 44th Street.
In addition to acting in Perfect Crime, Russell is the general manager of The Snapple Theater Center and a lead producer of another New York City institution, The Fantasticks, the world’s longest-running musical. She built The Snapple Theater Center and is currently building more Off Broadway theaters in the Times Square area and working on a documentary about the history of Off Broadway. She teaches acting at New York University and Baruch College and is a member of the Board of Directors of the League of Off Broadway Theatres and Producers and a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women.
Russell debuted Off Broadway in 1980 as Nicola Davies in Stephen Poliakoff’s City Sugar and has also appeared Off Broadway in Miss Schumann’s Quartet, A Resounding Tinkle, The Award and Other Plays and Creeps. She appeared in New York as Masha in Three Sisters, Rose in Incommunicado, Edie in The Lunch Girls, Missy in Home On The Range and Cathy Cake in Inserts. While performing in Perfect Crime, she has also managed to appear onstage (after 10:30pm or on her nights off) in The Queen of the Parting Shot, Pas de Deux, Stages, I’ll See You In Hell, Guardian Star and, most recently, Some Enchanted Evening as well as several films including Sandman, Remedy and, most recently, Ceremony and Contracts.
Perfect Crime, is New York’s answer to The Mousetrap, was optioned for Broadway in 1980 while author Warren Manzi was playing Mozart in the Broadway production of Amadeus. At the time, Manzi was the youngest American to have a play optioned for Broadway. After he refused prospective producer Morton Gottlieb’s request to change the title to Guilty Hands and star Mary Tyler Moore or Elaine Stritch, Manzi went to Hollywood and wrote several screenplays, including two versions of Clue for John Landis.
The cast of Perfect Crime also features Broadway leading man John Hillner (Georges in the 2004 Broadway revival of La Cage Aux Folles; Broadway’s Mamma Mia!, Company, Crazy For You, Woman of the Year, They’re Playing Our Song, Little Me, Footloose, Zorba, Big: the musical), television veteran George McDaniel (Hill Street Blues, Little House on the Prairie, Dallas, Cagney & Lacey, Mama’s Family, Saved By The Bell, ER, The West Wing), Patrick Robustelli (Guardian Star) and Richard Shoberg, who played Tom Cudahy on ABC’s All My Children for 24 years. Jeffrey Hyatt is the director.
Tickets for ($50 – $60) are available by calling the box office at (212) 921-7862 or Ticketmaster.com at (212) 307-4100. Student rush tickets ($26) are also available by calling or visiting the box office.
The Snapple Theater Center is located at 210 West 50th Street at Broadway.