NEW YORK (AP) — Dying onstage has been remarkably easy for Broadway's "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder."
The musical comedy reached a bloody milestone at Wednesday's matinee when star Jefferson Mays was knocked off for the 1,000th time since the show opened, believed to be a record for the fastest a leading actor has reached that number of deaths.
The show is about an impoverished man, played by Bryce Pinkham, who discovers he's ninth in line to inherit a fortune, so he decides to eliminate the eight heirs of the D'Ysquith family standing in his way. Mays plays all eight victims — two women and six men.
Since the show opened Nov. 17, Mays has been murdered eight times in each show or 64 times each week at the Walter Kerr Theatre.
At a press conference after the matinee, Pinkham presented Mays with an honorary "death certificate" on behalf of the entire cast. It listed Mays' marital status and age as "various" and listed his cause of death as Bryce Pinkham.
"I've had the pleasure of working with some wonderful actors over the years, but there is no one I'd rather murder over and over and over than this man," said Pinkham. "Even Sir Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton never had to die more than once an evening."
Mays, who won a Tony for "I Am My Own Wife," was gracious in return: "Thanks so much for this. At the risk of sounding gleefully genocidal, here's to the next thousand D'Ysquith deaths."
"A Gentleman's Guide" features a book by Robert L. Freedman, rousing music by Steven Lutvak, and wry, wonderful lyrics by Freedman and Lutvak.