Marilyn Abrams and Bruce Jordan acquired rights for a murder mystery originally titled Scherenschnitt, written by German playwright Paul Pörtner (1925–1984), and made it into Shear Madness
The play is set in a unisex hair salon in the city in which it plays. The landlady, Isabel Czerny, who lives above the shop is murdered and the audience gets involved in the action by questioning the actors and attempting to solve the crime. The characters include a flamboyant hairdresser and their flirty yet ditzy assistant, along with a prim and proper uptight older lady, and an older man who is a “used antique dealer”. Much of the dialogue is improvised by the actors, and the humor tends to revolve around topical references to current events.
The ending of the play is different every night as audience members hear clues, question the characters, and then vote on who they think is guilty. Whoever the audience votes to be the murderer, that person improvises dialogue along with the rest of the cast to reveal themselves.