STAGE TUBE: On This Day 1/15- THE 39 STEPS
Today in 2008, The 39 Steps opend at the American Airlines Theatre, where it ran for 771 performances. The play is a farce adapted from the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock. Patrick Barlow wrote the adaptation, based on the original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon of a two-actor version of the play. The play's concept calls for the entirety of the 1935 adventure film The 39 Steps to be performed with a cast of only four. One actor plays the hero, Richard Hannay, an actress plays the three women with whom he has romantic entanglements, and two other actors play every other character in the show: heroes, villains, men, women, children and even the occasional inanimate object. This often requires lightning fast quick-changes and occasionally for them to play multiple characters at once. Thus the film's serious spy story is played mainly for laughs, and the script is full of allusions to (and puns on the titles of) other Alfred Hitchcock films, including Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo and North by Northwest.