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Due to recent events, this production has cancelled performances March 13-15. Please check back for updates.

About Shear Madness

This unique comedy-whodunit takes place today in the "Shear Madness" hairstyling salon and is chock full of up-to-the-minute spontaneous humor. During the course of the action, a murder is committed and the audience gets to spot the clues, question the suspects, and solve the funniest mystery in the annals of crime.The outcome is never the same, which is why many audience members return again and again to the scene of the mayhem.

Over 11 million people worldwide have joined in the fun, and while no one has actually died laughing, some are still rolling in the aisles.

Tell Me More

“Shear Madness” is a murder mystery that takes audiences on a journey to expose the killer behind a crime at the Shear Madness Hair Salon. It is a strictly-for-laughs whodunnit comedy, and the zany characters invite audiences in on the fun. After the murder takes place, police detectives arrive to interrogate the audience about the incident. The audience’s collective vote determines the outcome of the play, which changes from performance to performance. The Boston production has local references to Beantown, and the setting is always changed to match the location of the production.

“Shear Madness” opened at Boston’s Charles Playhouse in 1980 and has been continuously running since then. The show was created by Marilyn Abrams and Bruce Jordan, who came up with the idea while in rehearsals for a dinner theater production in Lake George, New York. “Shear Madness” is loosely adapted the German-language play “Scherenschnitt,” a drama penned by a psychologist about how crimes are perceived. It morphed into a madcap comedy that began in Boston and had its first productions in Washington, D.C. at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts's Theater Lab, and off Broadway at New World Stages in New York City. It has since been translated into 28 languages, and has had 115 productions worldwide.

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What To Watch For

  • Guinness Book of World Records named “Shear Madness” the longest-running, non-musical play in American theater history.
  • Pop-culture references and current news items are continually added.
  • “Shear Madness” was voted Best Comedy of the Year seven times by the Boston Globe.
  • “Shear Madness” has also been lauded as the Best Play of the Year by both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Philadelphia Enquirer.

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Run Time

2 hours (with one 15 minute intermission)

Start Date


Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Charles Playhouse

74 Warrenton Street, Boston, MA 02116

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