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Patrick Barlow Adapted His 2005 Farce, “Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps,” from the 1935 Film

Raleigh Little Theatre's stellar cast for "Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps" includes (from left) Tony Hefner, Jesse R. Gephart, Staci Sabarsky, and Del Flack (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

Raleigh Little Theatre‘s stellar cast for “Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps” includes (from left) Tony Hefner, Jesse R. Gephart, Staci Sabarsky, and Del Flack (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

On Oct. 12-14, 18-21, and 25-28, Raleigh Little Theatre will present a community-theater production of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps in its Cantey V. Sutton Theatre. English actor, comedian, and playwright Patrick Barlow adapted this knee-slapping 2005 farce from John Buchan’s classic 1915 adventure novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s edge-of-your-seat 1935 motion-picture thriller based on Buchan’s nail-biting espionage story.

Set in Scotland and London, this madcap stage adaptation of The 39 Steps had its world premiere in June 2005 at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, England. Revised and redubbed John Buchan’s The 39 Steps, the show had its London premiere, directed by Maria Aitken, on Aug. 10, 2006 at the Tricycle Theatre, and transferred in September 2006 to the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End, where it won the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.

After having its U.S. premiere on Sept. 19, 2007 at Boston University, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps made its Broadway debut, also directed by Maria Aitken, on Jan. 15, 2008 at American Airlines Theatre, later transferred to the Cort Theatre and then to the Helen Hayes Theatre, where it played for a combined total of 771 performances before closing on Jan. 10, 2010. The show starred Charles Edwards as Richard Hannay, Jennifer Ferrin as Annabella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret, Cliff Saunders as Man #1, and Arnie Burton as Man #2, with Man #1 and Man #2 each playing dozens of characters.

Nominated for six 2008 Tony Awards®, including Best Play and Best Direction of a Play, The 39 Steps won Tonys for Best Lighting Design of a Play (Kevin Adams) and Best Sound Design of a Play (Mic Pool), plus a 2008 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience.

After closing on Broadway, The 39 Steps reopened Off-Broadway at the New World Stages Stage I on April 15, 2010, and played there until Jan. 16, 2011.

Long-time Raleigh Little Theatre director Haskell Fitz-Simons will stage Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps with an all-star cast that includes Jesse R. Gephart as Richard Hannay; Staci Sabarsky as Annabella Schmidt, Margaret, and Pamela; and Tony Hefner and Del Flack as the Clowns who impersonate all the other characters that Hannay encounters during his attempt to expose an espionage ring. (Gephart played one of the Clowns in Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy’s fabulous 2011 Triangle premiere presentation of this veritable laff riot.)

Raleigh Little Theatre presents ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S THE 39 STEPS at 8 p.m. Oct. 12 and 13, 3 p.m. Oct. 13, 8 p.m. Oct. 18-20, 3 p.m. Oct. 21, 8 p.m. Oct. 25-27, and 3 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Cantey V. Sutton Main Stage Theatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.

TICKETS: $20 ($16 students and seniors 62+), except all tickets $12 on Oct. 14th.

BOX OFFICE: 919/821-3111 or https://raleighlittletheatre.secure.force.com/.

SHOW: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/shows/12-13/steps.html.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.raleighlittletheatre.org/.

DIRECTIONS: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/about/map-directions.html.

PARKING: http://raleighlittletheatre.org/about/parking.html.

NOTE: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive listening devices are available for all shows.

OTHER LINKS:

The Book (background): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thirty-Nine_Steps (Wikipedia).

The Book (text): http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/558 (e-text from Project Gutenberg) and http://www.archive.org/details/39_steps_0807_librivox (audio recording by Librivox.org).

The Film: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/92939/The-39-Steps/ (Turner Classic Movies), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_39_Steps_(1935_film) (Wikipedia), and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0026029/ (Internet Movie Database).

The Play: http://www.love39steps.com/ (official website), http://www.39stepsny.com/ (Broadway website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_39_Steps_(play) (Wikipedia), http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database), and http://ibdb.com/show.php?ID=469214 (Internet Broadway Database).

Study Guide: http://www.39stepsny.com/Education Pack_2010.pdf (The Mousetrap Foundation).

The Playwright: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Barlow (Wikipedia), http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database), and http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=469223 (Internet Broadway Database).

The Director: https://www.facebook.com/hakfitz (Facebook).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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