Thursday, September 06, 2007

39 Steps To The Great White Way

39 Steps To The Great White Way

London's critically-acclaimed and Olivier-winning "Best New Comedy" The 39 Steps is headed toward Broadway late this year. The play is an adaptation of an Alfred Hitchcock work revisited by Patrick Barlow.

My favorite West End bloggers -- the Whingers -- called it an "amusing four-hander production" with "inventive staging." Indeed, four actors portray about 150 characters in all.

This side of the pond, The 39 Steps will be produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theatre beginning December 28, with a January 10 opening.

Can't wait that long? Then head for Beantown where you can see Maria Aitken's handiwork starting next week Friday at Huntington's Boston University Theatre mainstage. Or you can still catch the original production at London's Criterion Theatre.

Although no Rialto casting has been announced, Charles Edwards from the original London cast will be on hand in Boston.

Without question, this is on my personal "must-see" list.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for The 39 Steps Boston tickets.
Click here for The 39 Steps London tickets.

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At 07 September, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

I'm really hoping to catch this in Boston. I don't think I've ever seen the movie, but it sounds great. And inventive and amusing from the Whingers is high praise indeed! Coincidentally, the theater is literally 39 steps from where I went to college. Ok, maybe it's more like 50 steps! I'm especially intrigued at how four actors are going to portray 150 characters. Seems hard to believe there'd even be that many characters in a show that I think is less than two hours long. Maybe there's a crowd scene or something! The British certainly are breaking new ground in terms of economical productions. First, John Doyle has actors doubling up as musicians and now we've got actors playing mulitple, mulitple roles. Where will it go next?

At 07 September, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, You'll have to let us know what you think! And you're right about the Brits, too.

At 07 September, 2007, Blogger Interval Drinks said...

This is a smart, sweet little show, funny, accessible and reasonably clever (watch out for the Hitchcock cameo). However it is essentially a one joke show - and once the role-swapping premise is established, there's little more to it then that. I'd imagine its running costs are pretty low, which has helped it stay on so long in the West End. But, as long as you take it on its own terms, it's very entertaining.

At 07 September, 2007, Anonymous Gene in Minneapolis said...

Interesting that a non-profit has grabbed this (both in Boston and NY) but with the list of producers added under the Roundabout header I wonder if this is more probable than possible it's for a longer run in a "commercial" setting?
Good for the Roundabout if that can be done.
I too will add this to my must-see list. This is the stuff that so intrigues me.......good story and a few doing so much.....that you have to pay attention to the character and not just the face......

At 07 September, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

ID - I appreciate your endorsement. As a lover of Hitchcock's classics, I'll eat this one up.

And Gene, perhaps we'll see each other at this one when it hits Broadway.

At 24 September, 2007, Anonymous Esther Gross said...

I saw it over the weekend and I thought it was great, really funny and inventive and thoroughly entertaining.

It reminds me a lot of "Wicked" in the way it takes a familiar story and reimagines it in a very clever, witty manner. They've taken this suspenseful movie and kept the suspense, but added a screwball comedy to the mix. You just can't believe what can be done with four actors, some props, a few low-tech special effects and lots of quick costume changes!

The role-swapping is done in so many different ways and in almost every scene that it's really fresh and funny every time you see it. I was much more into the characters that the two actors were playing each time than the fact that the same two people were playing them.

I think the play stands on its own even if you haven't seen the movie or don't know Hitchcock at all. It's still very funny and you've got the element of suspense. But it's much better if you have. You'll appreciate it more. And there are lots of great little shoutouts to Hitchcock throughout. You should definitely watch the movie again before you see the play.


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