Intriguing! Acclaimed Comedy The 39 Steps Will Move to Cort Theatre

By Kenneth Jones
17 Mar 2008

Jennifer Ferrin and Charles Edwards in The 39 Steps
Jennifer Ferrin and Charles Edwards in The 39 Steps
Photo by Joan Marcus

The 39 Steps, the gleefully silly stage version of the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller, will transfer to a commercial Broadway run — at the Cort Theatre — starting April 29, following its current not-for-profit engagement at the American Airlines Theatre.

The 2007 Olivier Award winner for Best New Comedy was produced on Broadway by Roundabout Theatre company. It opened at Roundabout's American Airlines Theatre Jan. 15. That run ends March 29.

The Cort engagement, officially opening May 8, will be produced by Bob Boyett, Harriet Newman Leve/Ron Nicynski, Stewart F. Lane/Bonnie Comley, Manocherian Golden Prods., Olympus Theatricals/Douglas Denoff, Marek J. Cantor/Pat Addiss, Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes, artistic director; Harold Wolpert, managing director; Julia Levy, executive director), Huntington Theatre Company (Nicholas Martin, artistic director; Michael Maso, managing director) and Edward Snape for Fiery Angel Ltd.

Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, its official title, is adapted by Patrick Barlow and directed by Maria Aitken. The production is based on an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon and on the book by John Buchan.

The production's praised original Broadway cast will continue: Featured are Arnie Burton (Man #2), British actor Charles Edwards (Richard Hannay), Jennifer Ferrin (Annabella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret) and Cliff Saunders (Man #1). The company also includes Claire Brownell, Cameron Fulmar and Mark Shanahan.



All seats will be $39 for the first preview at the Cort. Tickets will go on sale March 18 by phone at (212) 239-6200, online at www.telecharge.com and at the Cort Theatre box office, 138 W. 48th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

According to the producers, "Mix Alfred Hitchcock's cinematic masterpiece with a juicy spy novel. Then, add the manic dash of vintage Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps equal parts hilarious whodunit, espionage thriller and quick-change comedy, adapted for the stage from Hitchcock's famous 1935 film and John Buchan's 1915 novel. Seeking a frivolous night out at the theatre, Richard Hannay is lured into a world of intrigue by a mysterious woman claiming to be a spy. When she winds up dead in his flat, he flees London with the police hot on his trail."

The production will again feature sets and costumes by Peter McKintosh, lighting by Kevin Adams and sound by Mic Pool. Dialect coach is Stephen Gabis. Original movement was created by Toby Sedgwick. Additional movement created by Christopher Bayes. Production management is by Aurora Productions. Production stage manager is Nevin Hedley.

For the record, the first production of The 39 Steps was directed by Fiona Buffini and produced on stage by North Country Theatre in April 1996 at the Georgian Theatre, Richmond, North Yorkshire.

This new version (based on the London hit) received its American debut at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, MA., from Sept. 14-Oct. 14, 2007. The Broadway premiere production began previews on Jan. 4, 2008.

For Roundabout tickets through March 29, call (212) 719-1300, visit www.roundabouttheatre.org or go to the American Airlines Theatre (227 West 42nd Street).

For more information visit www.love39Steps.com.