Alhambra Theatre & Dining's THE 39 STEPS Opens Today
The Alhambra Theatre & Dining, the longest running professional dinner theater in the United States opens a new show today August 6, Alfred Hithcock's The 39 Steps, a mystery comedy. The 39 Steps is the two-time Tony® Award-winning hit which ran a record-breaking 1135 performance from January 2008-January 2010. The 39 Steps was originally a big, serious, classic 1935 Alfred Hitchcock movie about spies between the wars, dashing heroes and classy dames.
Then in 2006, Patrick Barlow turned the story into farce, opened the show in London and won the Olivier Award® (Britain's equivalent of the Tony®) for best new comedy. Two years later, Broadway audiences adored it, too; Ben Brantley, in The New York Times, called it "throwaway theater at its finest," adding, "And that's no backhanded compliment."
The plot remains the same as in the film. Richard Hannay, a debonair 37-year-old Canadian bachelor, is bored one evening and goes out to the theater alone. A mysterious woman in black, Annabella Schmidt, fires a gun in the middle of a memory-artist's act and asks for Richard's help. 'Let me hide in your flat,' she begs, presumably because he is a bachelor without a date. She tells him about the spies pursuing her and hints at weaponry-related secrets that could threaten Britain's security. Annabella is murdered in the night, and Richard must go on the run to find the leader of the spy ring and clear himself of any connection with Annabella's death.
During his travels, Richard encounters an extraordinary number of colorful people. A cast of four plays more than 140 characters, including a milkman, a newsboy, a cleaning woman, a train conductor, theater performers, politicians, secret agents, husband-and-wife Scottish hoteliers, traveling lingerie salesmen and a wide variety of law enforcement officials. Their quick-change artistry is a running joke that never gets old, and if they ever seem dismayed by the challenge of changing hats, clothing, wigs and accents in fractions of a second, their frustration is right in the script.
Hitchcock devotees will be happy to see that The 39 Steps pays homage to a number of his other films. A crop-dusting plane tries to run down our hero. Lots of birds perch on a house sign. Pamela suffers from vertigo. The hotel desk sign reads, "Dial M for meal service," and even the Bates Motel is still accepting guests.
Raising Money for Seven Charities -- Celebrity Week is Back
Seven members of Jacksonville's news media will take their turns on the Alhambra stage the week of August 26. Each will make a cameo appearance during the performance, and the proceeds from the show in which they perform will go to the charity of their choice. Plus, the celebrity that "fills" the most seats will have a bonus donation made on their behalf to their selected charity. Because there was no specific part for a fifth actor, Creative Director Tod Booth had to write the celebrities into the script; their lines will be unknown even to them until the night of their performance. The Alhambra's Celebrity Week promises to be fun, entertaining and rewarding. Below is a list of Alhambra performers, their performance date and their charity:
August 26 Arthur Crofton Renda Broadcasting The Salvation Army
August 27 Sam Kouvaris WJXT-TV Dreams Come True
August 28 Catherine Varnum Action News Healing Hands
August 29 Nikki Kimbleton WJXT-TV No More Homeless Pets
August 30* Patricia Crosby WTLV-TV HEAL
August 30 Dawn Lopez Action News Hope Haven
August 31 Nick Loren WTLV First Coast Living JW Townsend Foundation
Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps will run at the Alhambra tonight, August 6 through September 7, 2014. Show time is 8:00 PM for evening shows. Doors open at 5:45 PM and dinner will be served until 7:30 PM. Matinees on Saturday are at 1:15 PM. Doors open at 11:00 AM and brunch starts at 11:15 AM. Sunday matinee is at 2:00. Doors open at noon and the meal starts at 12:15 PM. Group sales are available. Pricing starts at $35 and includes dinner, show and parking. Call the box office at 904.641.1212 or www.alhambrajax.com.