Mock your hometown. It’s for a good cause … "Shear Madness."

That’s the proposition from the improv-heavy comedy mystery that, as of January 29, will have run at Boston’s Charles Playhouse Stage II for 30 consecutive years, making it a Boston institution and claiming the "Guinness Record" for longest-running non-musical play in American theater history.

The whodunit about a murdered concert pianist who up until recently lived above a Newbury Street hair salon has always riffed on current events and incorporated audience participation. Now, in honor of its milestone anniversary, the show’s producers are offering a chance to get even more directly involved. They have announced an online joke-writing contest.

"We’re looking for the things about Boston, its institutions and its people that might evoke laughter from locals and out-of-towners alike," says co-producer Bruce Jordan in a press release.

Writers are asked to submit their material to [email protected] by the deadline of January 15. A committee of associated directors and actors will select five writers from the pack. Each of whom will win free tickets to the show for themselves and one guest where they will get to see their jokes incorporated into the performance and then have their pictures taken with cast.

It’s one touch the group hopes will make the occasion particularly fun.

"We love to be on the cutting edge," puns director Michael Fennimore.  "Our goal is to have 30 new jokes and clues in the show for this special night."

"Shear Madness," opened in Boston and has now been produced in 40 U.S. cities and had 85 international productions. It has employed over 150 Equity actors. It has "gone through nine barber chairs, 96 blow dryers, 270 bottles of stage blood, 198 hairbrushes, 1320 cans of hairspray, 1560 bottles of nail polish, and more than 13,000 cans of shaving cream," a press release boasts.

Your jokes about Boston could be the latest addition to this comedy arsenal.

Mock on.

About The Author

Jason Rabin is a Blast contributing editor

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