CORAL GABLES Isabelle Czerny, an elderly classical pianist, was murdered last weekend at the Shear Madness hair salon, which is neatly nestled inside the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables. Dets. Nick Rossetti (Michael St. Pierre) and Miguel "Mikey" Ortiz (Francisco Padura) were working undercover at the scene, yet still needed the help of more than 200 observers in the audience to solve the case.
Throughout the evening, loud laughter could be heard in response to the nonstop one-liners emanating from the salon, particularly from loquacious and flamboyant stylist Tony Whitcomb (Tom Wahl), who was said to have been frustrated with the elderly victim's incessant playing of music. Stylist Barbara DeMarco (Margot Moreland) was the sole beneficiary of Czerny's will, while customers Eddie Rodriguez (Oscar Cheda) and Mrs. Shubert (Linda Bernhard) also became suspects as they too could have benefited from Czerny's death.
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The persistent laughter was the result of dialogue so fraught with witty wisecracks that it was difficult for observers to catch their breath between punch lines. Many reported being in hysterics at lines such as this one, with which Whitcomb answers the phone following the murder: "Shear Madness, we curl up and dye for you." Asked if there are any laws against being discreet, Det. Ortiz responds, "Not in an election year in Florida, Nick." According to informed sources, very few of the jokes fell flat.
Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
Written by Paul Portner. Directed by David Arisco. With Linda Bernhard, Oscar Cheda, Margot Moreland, Francisco Padura, Michael St. Pierre, and Tom Wahl. Presented through January 2 by Actors' Playhouse. 305-444-9293.
As the murder was being solved, a random survey of the theater revealed widespread smiling and laughter, indicating the audience was having a wonderful time despite the murder. Later inquiries confirmed that most observers believed Shear Madness was a sheer delight.