Geva Theatre Center to Present THE 39 STEPS, 10/22-11/17
Geva Theatre Center's 41st Season continues with The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow, from the John Buchan novel and the film by Alfred Hitchcock. Directed by Sean Daniels, this fast-paced whodunit begins performances on October 22 and runs in the Elaine P. Wilson Mainstage through November 17.
Hitchcock meets hilarious as Englishman Richard Hannay encounters dastardly murders, double crossing secret agents and devastatingly beautiful women in this fast-paced whodunit. Part espionage thriller and part slapstick comedy, four actors play over 150 characters in this ingeniously adapted homage to film noir and theatrical stagecraft. A runaway hit in London and on Broadway and the winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.
John Buchan's adventure tale of the best, bored man in England first appeared as a serial in Blackwood's magazine in 1915 and was published in book form later that year. It was the first of five novels featuring the dashing Richard Hannay, a stiff-upper-lipped hero with a knack for getting out of sticky situations - a pre-cursor to Indiana Jones. The book, about a man who puts his country's interests before his personal safety, was a huge hit for readers during World War I and has not been out of print for nearly a century. The story has been adapted for the big screen three times: the first, directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935, starred Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll; the 1959 version starred Kenneth More as Richard Hannay and was directed by Robert Thomas; and the 1978 version starred Robert Powell as Hannay, directed by Don Sharp. However successful the later big screen versions, the 1935 Hitchcock film remains a clear favorite and was ranked #4 on the BFI Top 100 British Films.
The first stage version of The 39 Steps for four actors was created by Nobby Dimon and Simon Corble in 1995. This toured small theatres and village halls in the north of England. Two very successful tours, starring Simon Ward and Simon Williams as Hannay in 1998 and 2000 respectively, toured large scale venues around the UK to great acclaim. In 2005, Patrick Barlow adapted the script, retaining Dimon and Corble's original concept. This production debuted at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2005 and transferred to London's Tricycle Theatre in 2006. It moved to the Criterion Theatre in the West End later that year where it won the 2007 Olivier Award for Best Comedy. It continues to play at the Criterion today. The play had its US premiere at the Huntington Theatre in Boston in 2007. In 2008 it was produced by Roundabout at the American Airlines Theatre. It transferred to Broadway's Cort Theatre in April of that year and the following year moved to the Helen Hayes Theatre where it remained until it closed in January 2010 after 771 performances.
The cast of Geva's production of The 39 Steps is led by John Gregorio (The Book Club Play) as Richard Hannay. Honeoye Falls nativeMonica West (the North American premiere of Dirty Dancing: the Musical, "One Life to Live" and "Law & Order") plays a bevy of femme fatales. Aaron Muñoz (The Book Club Play) and Buffalo native Joel Van Liew ("Boardwalk Empire" and "Nurse Jackie") play a host of other characters in this tongue-in-cheek homage to Hitchcock.