By Kenneth Jones
04 Jun 2008
The critically acclaimed Alfred Hitchcock-inspired show, which has been nominated for six 2008 Tony Awards including Best Play, moved to the Cort Theatre following an acclaimed run at the American Airlines Theatre earlier this year. The production currently stars British actor Charles Edwards, repeating his London role of Hannay, a tweedy innocent who is chased all over Great Britain by three other performers who play a population of villains, lovers, strangers and friends.
Edwards, who originated the role of Hannay in the Olivier Award-winning London production, will play his final Broadway performance on July 6.
Robards received Tony Award and Drama Desk nominations and a Clarence Derwent Award for his Broadway debut in Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Arthur Miller's The Man Who Had All The Luck. He also appeared in Broadway in MTC's Absurd Person Singular. Off-Broadway credits include The Overwhelming, Misalliance (Roundabout), The Altruists (Vineyard), Moonchildren, Flux (Second Stage), Album (Cherry Lane) and Taking Steps (York). His films credits include "Perestroika," "Guerilla," "Awake," "Surviving Eden," "Catch That Kid," "Life as a House," "A.I.," "Bounce," "American Beauty," "Beautiful Girls," "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle," "Pret-A-Porter," Casualties of War," "Bird" and more.
The 39 Steps 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 features Arnie Burton (Man #2), 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.
Here's how producers explain the experience: "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 features 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 was by Christopher Bayes. Production management is by Aurora Productions. Production stage manager is Nevin Hedley.
The production received its American debut at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, MA, Sept. 14-Oct. 14, 2007. The Broadway premiere began previews on Jan. 4, 2008, and officially opened Jan. 15 at Roundabout Theatre Company's American Airlines Theatre.
The 39 Steps is produced by Bob Boyett, Harriet Newman Leve/Ron Nicynski, Stewart F. Lane/Bonnie Comley, Manocherian Golden Prods., Olympus Theatricals/Douglas Denoff, Pam Laudenslager/Pat Addiss, Roundabout Theatre Company, Huntington Theatre Company and Edward Snape for Fiery Angel Ltd.
For tickets, contact TeleCharge.com at (212) 239-6200 or go to the Cort Theatre box office at 138 West 48th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.
At every performance, 39 tickets at $39 are available. Performances are Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM PM, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM.