Buffalo Theatre Ensemble Begins Season with THE 39 STEPS
Buffalo Theatre Ensemble (BTE), the professional Equity company in residence at the McAninch Arts Center opens its 2017-2018 season with "The 39 Steps," adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan. BTE Ensemble Member Kurt Naebig* directs this zany Hitchcock-inspired whodunit. Performances runSept. 7-Oct. 8. There will be a preview performance on Sept. 7 at 8 p.m.; press opening is Friday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m.
This Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning play, featuring more than 150 characters played by a nimble cast of four, is packed with nonstop laughs, dozens of wacky characters, some good old-fashioned romance and more. When an unassuming man's night ends with a woman's murder in his apartment, he soon finds he must run from the spy organization "The 39 Steps' and discover a way to clear his name." The New York Times writes "'The 39 Steps' remains a gallant and giggly ode to make-do resourcefulness, to the air of spinning illusions out of nothing but a clown's talents." "The 39 Steps" is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
Says director Naebig, "This is the kind of show I really enjoy directing, actors love performing and audiences relish seeing. In addition to a cast with a knack for comedy, this show requires split-second timing both onstage and backstage, and offers the actors, stage crew and the audience all the excitement and fun of a full-tilt roller coaster ride. Fans of Hitchcock's work will especially savor the allusions to other Hitchcock films including 'Strangers on a Train,' 'Rear Window,' 'Psycho,' 'Vertigo' and 'North by Northwest'."
Alfred Hitchcock, an admirer of Buchan's fiction altered the plot of his adaptation of Buchan's book "The 30 Steps" (1915) from focusing on espionage and impending threats to England to using the spy thriller plot to examine the main character's relationships with women and marriage in general. Hitchcock's movie released in 1935, established his name in the U.K. and U.S., and in 1999, his "The 39 Steps" was named the fourth greatest British film ever in a poll by the British Film Institute
The first play version of "The 39 Steps" was written by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon and premiered in the U.K. 1995 in Richmond, North Yorkshire. Barlow reworked the script keeping the scenes, staging and small-scale feel, and, on June 17, 2005, his re-adaption premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Fourteen months later it had its London premiere at London's Tricycle Theatre. The production was transferred to the Criterion Theatre in London's West End where it closed in September 2015 making it the fifth longest running play in West End history. In 2007 Barlow's adaptation premiered in U.S. in a Huntington Theatre Company production at the Boston University Theatre, and opened on Broadway in January 2008. To date "The 39 Steps" has played in more than 40 countries world-wide and has won Olivier, Helpmann, Moliere and two 2008 Tony Awards and four additional Tony Award nominations.
Patrick Barlow (adapter), named the most performed playwright in America for 2012, is well known in the U.K. for his two-man theater company National Theatre of Brent, which has been honored with two Sony Gold Awards, a Premier Ondas Award for Best European Comedy and The New York FestivAl Gold Award for Best Comedy. Barlow's acting credits include numerous films including "Absolutely Fabulous," "Shakespeare in Love," "Notting Hill" and "Bridget Jones' Diary." Stage performance credits include as Pseudolus in "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum," Humphry in Simon Gray's "The Common Pursuit" and Toad in the Royal National Theatre's "The Wind in the Willows." Barlow is currently two new four person epics, "A Christmas Carol," "Ben-Hur" and "The Hound of the Baskervilles."
The cast for BTE's production of "The 39 Steps" Ensemble member and Glen Ellyn resident BRyan Burke*, (Hannay), and Chicago's Becca Cox (Annabela, etc), Daniel Millhouse (Clown) and Matthew Singleton (Clown).The design team includes Lombard's Kurt Naebig* (Director); Chicago's Sarah Lewis (Scenic Designer) and Mieka van der Ploeg (Costume Designer); Glen Elyn's Jon Gantt* (Lighting Designer) and Chicago's Christopher Kriz (Sound Designer), Neil Massey (Fight Choreographer) and Jillian Luce (Properties Designer). Stage manager is Chicago's David A Loranca; BTE Stage Management Scholarship recipient Nathan Evans is Assistant Stage Manager.
Buffalo Theatre Ensemble presents "The 39 Steps," adapted by Patrick Barlow, from the novel by John Buchan and directed by Kurt Naebig in the Playhouse Theatre of the McAninch Arts Center, located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage Sept. 7 - Oct. 8. There will be a preview performance on Thursday, Sept. 7; press opening is Friday, Sept. 8. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. (Sept. 16, 8:30 p.m.) and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $37. For tickets or more information visit AtTheMAC.org or call 630.942.4000.
In addition to "The 39 Steps," Buffalo Theatre Ensemble's 2017-2018 three-play 2017-2018 season includes "Time Stands Still" by Donald Margulies directed by BTE Artistic Director Connie Canaday Howard (Feb. 1-March 4; Press opening Feb. 2); and "Outside Mullingar" by John Patrick Shanley, directed by Steve Scott (May 3-June 3; Press opening May 4). Three-play subscriptions are still available. To subscribe, call 630.942.4000. Please note: All BTE 2017-2018 Season performances contain adult themes and language.
* Denotes BTE Ensemble Member
Buffalo Theatre Ensemble
Buffalo Theatre Ensemble members include: Aly Greaves Amidei, RoBert Jordan Bailey, BTE Associate Artistic Director Amelia Barrett, BRyan Burke, BTE Artistic Director Connie Canaday Howard, Jon Gantt, Loretta Hauser, Michael W. Moon, Kurt Naebig, Galen G. Ramsey, and William "Sandy" Smillie. The mission of Buffalo Theatre Ensemble is to provide a forum in which artists, scholars, writers, students and community members explore new ideas and provocative issues through the production of high quality theater for the enjoyment of its audiences. Since 1986 BTE has staged more than 114 productions. For more information about BTE visit btechicago.com .
BTE would like to thank the DuPage Foundation for their generous support in the reinstatement and continued operation of Buffalo Theatre Ensemble in its 2017-2018. BTE also thanks the Norm Woodel Inspiration Fund for its assistance in the rebirth and further development of Buffalo Theatre Ensemble.