Four Actors Play Dozens of Roles in Broadway's The 39 Steps; Opening Jan. 15
By Ernio Hernandez
The Roundabout Theatre Company presents the Olivier Award-winning Hitchcockian thriller-turned-stage comedy, The 39 Steps, which officially opens Jan. 15 at the American Airlines Theatre.
Maria Aitken, director of the original hit London production, also stages the work in New York. Previews began Jan. 4 for the limited engagement, which is scheduled to run through March 23.
Patrick Barlow's stage adaptation of The 39 Steps is based on an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon and the novel penned by John Buchan in 1915. The work was adapted for the big screen for the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film.
With a nod to the entire Hitchcock oeuvre, four players take on all the characters involved in this "whodunit, part espionage thriller and part slapstick comedy," as the high-impact, low-tech work is billed. The 39 Steps begins as "Richard Hannay is lured into a world of intrigue by a mysterious woman claiming to be a spy," according to show notes. "When she winds up dead in his flat, he flees London with the police hot on his trail."
Charles Edwards, who played the role of Richard Hannay in the London cast, repeats his work for Broadway audiences. He is joined onstage by Jennifer Ferrin (in the female roles of Annabella, Pamela and Margaret) with Arnie Burton and Cliff Saunders in an array of roles (often, more than one at a time) ranging from train passengers to secret agents to innkeepers to a bog. (This same cast starred in a recent Boston run at the Huntington Theatre Company.)
The design team includes Peter McKintosh (scenic and costume), Kevin Adams (lighting) and Mic Pool (sound).
The 39 Steps was originally presented onstage by North Country Theatre in April 1996 at the Georgian Theatre, Richmond, North Yorkshire. The show played London's Tricycle Theatre in 2006 and then transferred to the West End's Criterion Theatre and earned the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.
Roundabout Theatre Company in association with Bob Boyett, Harriet Leve/Ron Nicynski, Fiery Angel Ltd. and the Huntington Theatre Company present the New York premiere of the acclaimed work.
Tickets to The 39 Steps at the American Airlines Theatre, 227 West 42nd Street, are available by calling (212) 719-1300 or by visiting roundabouttheatre.org.
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