A play about the infamous Cellino and Barnes is premiering Off Broadway

"Cellino and Barnes, injury attorneys, call 1-800-888-8888."

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan
Senior National News Editor
Cellino v. Barnes
Photograph: Courtesy Reed CavnerCellino v. Barnes

You might not know who Cellino and Barnes are, but you can definitely recite their law firm's phone number by heart. 

Ross Cellino Jr. and Steve Barnes founded their personal injury law firm in Buffalo, New York back in 1998. The pair quickly rose to prominence after their distinctive jingle—"Cellino and Barnes, injury attorneys, call 1-800-888-8888"—basically turned them into Internet celebrities.

Fans eventually became obsessed with the history of the firm—which expanded and opened offices in New York City and Los Angeles—until the two lawyers went their separate ways and founded their own agencies, Cellino Law and Barnes Firm. 

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That history, including what led to the dissolution of the company, is the subject of the Off Broadway dark comedy Cellino V. Barnes, set to premiere at Asylum NYC (123 East 24th Street by Lexington Avenue) on July 23 and run through October 13. 

"Witness the hilariously absurd antics of two lawyers who prioritize outrageous personal squabbles over their billion-dollar empire, navigating a minefield of ethical dilemmas, personal demons, and outdated fax machines," reads an official synopsis of the production, written by Mike B. Breen and David Rafailedes. "As their budding friendship and business collide with unchecked ambition, they must decide whether to find common ground or torch it all. Inspired by their infamous real-life split, this riotous romp reveals the rivalry and redemption of two men who changed the face of their industry, one iconic billboard at a time."

For the first time playing Off Broadway, Cellino V. Barnes was previously mounted in NYC inside vacant commercial spaces in Chelsea that were outfitted to look and feel like law offices.

Clearly, the plot resonated. Perhaps, the next time we hear that iconic jingle will actually be on Broadway.

Tickets for Cellino V. Barnes are available here

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