“The 39 Steps” was a serious 1935 Hitchcock movie about spies between World Wars, handsome heroes and classy dames. Then Patrick Barlow turned the story into a delightful stage spoof that soon will be returning to NYC at an off-Broadway house.
It’s coming back billed as a family comedy and according to the NYTimes, producers hope it will become a long-lasting theater staple like “Blue Man Group” or “Stomp.” Tickets go on sale in January for the show at the Union Square Theatre, 100 E. 11th St. (catch a show when the famous Union Square Farmers Market is open and kill two birds with one stone).
The spoof, first done in England to much awards, spent a couple of years at various theaters on and off-Broadway through January 2011 and, after it closed, then became a staple at regional theaters around the country.
A spring 2012 production of it at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick (NJ) was excellent and thoroughly enjoyable, especially as both my 19-year-old son and I are Hitchcock fans. But you don’t have to get all the puns and allusions to “Strangers on a Train,” “Rear Window,” “Psycho,” “Vertigo” and “North by Northwest” to enjoy the show.
But it will be hard to misinterpret a crop-dusting plane trying to run down our hero Richard Hanney, birds perch on a house sign, a character with vertigo, the Bates Motel and a hotel desk with the sign saying, “Dial M for meal service.”
And, of course, Hanney’s character is the classic Hitchcock everyman who, through no fault of his own, is suddenly a murder suspect running from the authorities with the help of cool blondes.
For more info, visit the show’s website by clicking here.