By Samita Mason

Shear Madness has been playing for 22 years — yet the Kennedy Center is packed as guests file in for another performance of the D.C. who-done-it.

The set has been the same for 22 years and involves a barber shop where a murder occurs. Using clues, the audience is asked to help figure out who the murderer is. The story changes for every show which brings guests back for a new show with a new ending.

“This is my third time attending the show. I laugh every time and it’s great the cast makes a way to bring the audience into it,” said Cheryl Dawson, 51, a technical writer from Bethesda, Md.

Dawson first attended the show five years ago and loved it. “I’ve seen several plays on Broadway and a few here at the Kennedy Center when I can’t make it all the way back to New York. I have never been disappointed,” she says.

Christy Lewis, 35, financial analyst, from Leesburg, Va. was with her friend Kelly O’Bryon, 34, marketing coordinator from Rockville, Md. “The cast members approached a few audience members asking them who they thought committed the murders. Some were trying to recite the story line to the cast in order to figure out who would be found guilty,” said Lewis.

While there is the general story line, actors actually do ad lib at times. “At one show, a guy turned around and gave another guy a kiss on the lips. This was clearly not a part of the script as everyone basically stopped what they were doing. After a few minutes, they worked it into the story and continued on with the show,” says Dawson.

An added bonus to the show is that the cast invites guests to congregate outside the theatre for a question and answer session. This is beneficial to those who missed any part of the play and requested clarification. “I would definitely go see it again and again. It is a great evening of clean entertainment,” said Lewis.