Prescription: Murder

by  William Link, Richard L. Levinson

Full Length Play, Drama  /  4m, 3f

Providing the inspiration for the TV series Columbo, the theatrical predecessor Prescription: Murder tells the story of a brilliant psychiatrist and his mistress who hatch a plot to murder his neurotic, possessive wife. The execution of their plan and the creation of their perfect alibi depends on a bizarre impersonation. Lt. Columbo must engage the psychiatrist in a duel of wits until the doctor succeeds in having Columbo removed from the case...

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 3f
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Mystery/Thriller
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Providing the inspiration for the TV series Columbo, the theatrical predecessor Prescription: Murder tells the story of a brilliant psychiatrist and his mistress who hatch a plot to murder his neurotic, possessive wife. The execution of their plan and the creation of their perfect alibi depends on a bizarre impersonation. Lt. Columbo must engage the psychiatrist in a duel of wits until the doctor succeeds in having Columbo removed from the case. However, it is the mistress who proves to be the weak link that leads to a trap and a surprising climax!
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Keywords

Betrayal, Death

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary, 1960s
  • Setting: New York City. May.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

4m, 3f
MISS PETRIE - a pleasant, efficient woman in her fifties with a genuine liking for people.
DR. ROY FLEMMING - a polished, urbane New York psychiatrist in his forties. Highly civilized, pragmatic, with a cold, functioning intelligence. He wears conservative, artfully-tailored suits.
CLAIRE FLEMMING - a brittle, sardonic product of New York's East side. She is in her early forties and shows the strain of a loveless marriage.
SUSAN HUDSON - Young and extremely attractive, with a hint of latent sensuality. She is not particularly complicated, but as the play progresses she shows the burden of the increasing tension.
LIEUTENANT COLUMBO - a rumpled police official of indeterminate age. He seems to be bumbling and vague, with an overly apologetic, almost deferential manner. This masks an innate shrewdness, and foxy knowledge of human nature.
DAVE GORDON - a smooth, boyish lawyer with his eye on a political future.
DELIVERY BOY - early twenties.
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Cast Attributes

  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

The two actresses playing CLAIRE FLEMMING and SUSAN HUDSON, though they needn't be strictly similar in face or figure, should have approximately the same hair coloring.

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Authors

William Link

William Link and Richard L. Levinson began a 43 year-long friendship in 1946, on their first day of junior high school. Both were avid Ellery Queen fans from boyhood and enjoyed mental puzzles and challenges, a characteristic that would spill over into their work. Beginn ...

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Richard L. Levinson

Richard L. Levinson

Prescription: Murder was first presented at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco on January 20, 1962.

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