THE 39 STEPS Opens at Majestic Theatre
When you hear the name Alfred Hitchcock, you don't think of stage performances or comedy. However, with The 39 Steps, a stage adaptation of Hitchcock's 1935 film of the same name, that is exactly what you get.
Playing a limited run at San Antonio's Majestic Theatre, The 39 Steps is a suspenseful comedy caper full of murder, espionage, and mystery. The play's hero, Richard Hannay (played expertly by Ted Deasy) takes as through a fateful adventure sparked by nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hannay meets a mysterious German woman (Annabella Schmidt, played by Claire Brownell) whose blood ends up on his hands and sends him running from authorities to try to stop top secret information from falling into the wrong hands.
Hannay meets a host of over 150 characters on his mission, superbly played by the remaining three cast members (Brownell, Eric Hissom, and Scott Parkinson). The actors are phenomenal in their portrayal of vastly different personas, and the manner in which they transition between their roles. Don't blink or you'll miss it!
The staging of this performance is exceptional. It is a sparse set with many pieces serving multiple purposes, but the creativity with lighting and sound keep the audience engrossed in the scene, encouraging the viewer to use a bit of imagination to fill in the blanks.
Due to its minimal set, wide range of locales, and characters who wear many hats - literally - the cast of The 39 Steps have mastered the art of physical comedy. Fleeing from authorities on a train on stage could be difficult to portray, especially when there is no train, but with a few lights, fog, and perfectly executed choreography, the train chase is brought to life with the suspense and action of a Harrison Ford movie and the humor of Abbott & Costello.
When it closed on Broadway on January 10, 2010, The 39 Steps had secured the bragging right of being the longest running play in Broadway history. Recent reports have stated that the show is going to re-open Off-Broadway at the New World Stages Theatre in New York on March 25, 2010.
The 39 Steps is currently playing at the Majestic Theatre through February 7 and is recommended for ages 8 and up. Tickets are available at the box office or visiting Ticketmaster.com.