At its start, several affluent couples gather in the posh suburban residence of a couple for a dinner party celebrating their tenth anniversary. When they arrive, they discover there are no servants, the hostess is missing, and the host - the deputy mayor of New York City - has shot himself through the earlobe. Comic complications arise when, given everyone's upper class status, they decide they need to do everything possible to conceal the evening's events from the local police and the media.
After eight previews, the Broadway production, directed by Gene Saks, opened on November 17, 1988 at the Broadhurst Theatre, where it ran for slightly more than a year before transferring to the Ethel Barrymore, for a total run of 535 performances. The original cast included Lisa Banes, Christine Baranski, Ken Howard, Ron Leibman, Joyce Van Patten, and Jessica Walter. Veronica Hamel, Dick Latessa, Larry Linville, and Alice Playten were among the cast replacements throughout the run.
Baranski won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. It also was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design.
The play has become a popular choice for regional and community theatre groups.