Lenox, MA—It’s the ingenious thriller based on the book and Hitchcock movie, but it turns into an all-out farce right before your eyes. As a theatrical treat, The 39 Steps surely has it all. Shakespeare & Company and Artistic Director Tony Simotes are pleased to open the 2012-2013 Fall & Winter season with this hilarious adaptation of John Buchan’s novel, which also draws inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film. Featuring a seasoned ensemble of stellar Company actors, including Elizabeth Aspenlieder (Bad Dates), Jason Asprey (Parasite Drag), David Joseph (The Tempest), and Josh Aaron McCabe (Hound of the Baskervilles), The 39 Steps offers an intriguing, sidesplitting evening or afternoon at the theatre.
Our hero is Richard Hannay, a perfectly normal Englishman who goes out for a perfectly innocent night at the theatre on a perfectly lovely evening in 1935. During the performance, he meets a mysterious woman with a frantic tale of an impending assassination and top secret plots against the government. Hannay is suddenly drawn into an epic, romantic espionage thriller, during which he’s chased by Nazis, framed for murder, and pursued by the police. Company actor and director Jonathan Croy (The Real Inspector Hound, Richard III, andTwelfth Night) concocts a hilarious brew of spy thrilling shenanigans, with the four-actor cast playing more than 150 roles.
“The 39 Steps is a terrific comedy, a four-actor stage adaptation of the Alfred Hitchcock classic, which itself was a film adaptation of a great adventure novel by the same name,” says Croy. ”I wouldn’t call this a parody—I think ‘parody’ comments on a subject by shifting its point of view, and I dislike the idea of a ‘spoof,’ which would imply that our intent is innately different than that of the movie or the book. For this play to be most effective, we’ll need to go straight at the story and create comedy through a deadly serious intent.”
In true noir fashion, Hannay finds love (a few times) and loses love (a few times), all while trying desperately to save the world. “For Richard Hannay, the fate of the world really is at stake,” continues Croy, “life-threatening dander really is life threatening, and love really does hang in the balance. The comedic vocabulary is one of extremity, and the surrealist nature of these quirky people and bizarre events becomes the metaphor that lifts the story to the epic size of the film and of the book.
“Besides, four actors on a (mostly) bare stage creating a great sprawling espionage thriller? That’s just plain fun.”
Tickets and Reservations
Tickets are $15-$50, and S&Co. offers a wide range of discount options, including discounts for groups, students, senior citizens, military, teachers and our very popular40% Berkshire Resident Discount. To view a complete schedule, receive a brochure, or inquire about discounts, please call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or visitwww.Shakespeare.org. For customized group visits—which may include artist talkbacks, tours, and catered events—contact the Group Sales office at (413) 637-1199, ext. 132. The Bernstein Theatre is air-conditioned, hearing aid assisted, and wheelchair accessible.
ELIZABETH ASPENLIEDER seventeenth season. S&Co: The Memory of Water(Catherine), War of the Worlds (Phillips) The Winter’s Tale (Hermione), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Marquise de Merteuil), Bad Dates (Haley), The Ladies Man (Suzanne),Othello (Bianca), Rough Crossing (Natasha), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Mistress Ford); Ice Glen (Dulce); The Comedy of Errors (Adrianna), Much Ado About Nothing(Margaret), King Lear (Regan), Ethan Frome (Mattie), The Valley of Decision (Fulvia), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia), A Tanglewood Tale (Sophia), Twelfth Night(Antonia), Richard III (Anne), All’s Well That Ends Well (Helena), Wit (Susie), The Winter’s Tale (Perdita), Mercy (Annie), Much Ado About Nothing (Ursula), and Pericles(Thaisa/Diana). Regional: Boston Theatre Works: Angels in America (Angel/Nurse) and Emilia (Othello); Mixed Company: Ten Minutes in the Berkshires Play Festival(s). Canada: Eccentricities of a Nightingale (Alma), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Nora), Fifth of July (Shirley), Independent Films: Trigger Finger; Seriously Twisted. Elizabeth won the 2009 Elliot Norton Award for her performance in Bad Dates at Merrimack Repertory and S&Co., and was nominated for an I.R.N.E. award for the same role. She also provides the voices for commercials and animated features.
JASON ASPREY eighteenth season. S&Co: The Memory of Water (Frank), The Winter’s Tale (Autolycus), Richard III (Lord Hastings/Oxford), Hamlet (Title Role), White People(Alan Harris), All’s Well That Ends Well (Bertram), Rough Crossing (Gal), Blue/Orange(Bruce), The Mission of Jane (Julian Lethbury), The Promise (Jean Le Fanois), As You Like It (Oliver/Corin), Comedy of Errors (Angelo), King Lear (Edgar), Much Ado About Nothing (DonJohn/Sexton), Henry V (Fluellen), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck),Macbeth (Macduff), and Julius Caesar (Antony). Regional: Julius Caesar (Cassius) at Shakespeare Now, Betrayal (Robert) at Nora Theatre, Einstein’s Dreams (Eduard Einstein) at Culture Project NYC, A Life in the Theatre (John) and The End of the Day(Grayden Massey) at Ensemble Theatre, Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio) at Swine Palace; also Knightbridge Theatre, Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Mixed Company, and theatre in England, where he has also worked in TV and film.
JONATHAN CROY twenty-seventh season. A Company member since 1982, Jon has played more than 60 roles in over 50 plays, including The Hound of the Baskervilles(Watson), Rough Crossing (Turai), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Dr. Caius), The Taming of the Shrew (Baptista), Much Ado About Nothing (Don Pedro), Henry V(Pistol/French King), The Tempest (Caliban), Complete Works abridged (Jon), Twelfth Night (Orsino), Richard III (Buckingham), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bottom),Comedy of Errors (Dromio of Syracuse), Custom of the Country (Elmer Moffat), Twelfth Night (Aguecheek), Macbeth (title role), and Much Ado About Nothing (Benedick). Directing credits include Richard III, The Real Inspector Hound, Twelfth Night andScapin, along with many New England Tours, Shakespeare in the Courts programs, Summer Institute productions, Young Company performances, and more than 40 others in Residencies. Jon has directed professionally in Chicago, Milwaukee and North Carolina…and has acted at the NY Shakespeare Festival, Missouri Rep, NC Shakespeare Festival, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Rep, St. Louis Rep, Milwaukee Rep, Playmakers Rep, the Studio Arena, The Woodstock Playhouse, The Actors’ Theatre, the Actors’ Warehouse, and the Actors’ Lab…others, too, with stranger names: Sparkplug Stage Co., The New Theatre Co., Monkeywrench Productions, Twentieth Century, ComedyCo., The Lighter Side Theater Co.
DAVID JOSEPH seventh season. S&Co: Tonino/Zanetto in The Venetian Twins, Simon in The Real Inspector Hound, Hugh in The Amorous Quarrel, Sea Captain/First Officer inTwelfth Night, Dandini in Cindy Bella, Cyrus in The Mad Pirate and the Mermaid, Octave in Scapin, Herve in Kerfol, and Florindo in The Servant of Two Masters, five spring tours of Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World. Regional: Bill in Pinter’s The Collection at BTF, the World Premiere of Ballet Metropolis’ Dracula (Jonathan Parker) at the Colonial Theatre. Films credits include: All In The Game, Deathcam, and Get Your Act Together. Feature films include, Glowing Screen Productions Magdalena’s Brain and Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock. David moved back from NYC where he was in many Off-Broadway shows and a national tour of Man of La Mancha. In 2008 and 2010, David sang the National Anthem at Fenway Park.
JOSH AARON MCCABE seventh season. S&Co: Sherlock Holmes (and others!) in The Hound of the Baskervilles; Oliver in As You Like It, Pierson in War of the Worlds; Nicodemus/ Lady Enid in The Mystery of Irma Vep; Birdboot in The Real Inspector Hound; Camillo in The Winters Tale; Catesby in Richard III; Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Host of the Garter in Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth in the New England Tour and Shakespeare & the Language that Shaped a World. Josh performed Off-Broadway playing the role of Mike in the New York Times critically acclaimed Peep Show at Actor’s Playhouse. Regional theatres include Madison Repertory Theatre, Forward Theater, Milwaukee’s Chamber Theatre, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati and Milwaukee’s Renaissance Theaterworks. He has appeared in national commercials, various daytime serials and Saturday Night Live. He is proud to be a part of S&Co’s Education Dept. Josh received his MFA in Acting from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a member of AEA, AFTRA and SAG.
At a Glance:
PRODUCTION: The 39 Steps
THEATRE: Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre
PLAYWRIGHT: Patrick Barlow (adapted from the novel by John Buchan from the movie of Alfred Hitchcock)
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Croy
CAST: Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Jason Asprey, David Joseph, and Josh Aaron McCabe
COSTUME DESIGNER: Mary Readinger
SET DESIGNER: Patrick Brennan
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Stephen Ball
SOUND DESIGNER: Mike Pfeiffer
WARDROBE: Jillian O’Connell
Saturday, September 22, 2013 7:30pm
Sunday, September 23 2012, 2:00pm
Friday, September 28, 2012, 7:30pm
Saturday, September 29, 2012, 7:30pm
Sunday, September 30, 2012, 2:00pm
Friday, October 5, 2012, 7:30pm
Saturday, October 6, 2012, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, October 7, 2012, 2:00pm
Friday, October 12, 2012, 7:30pm
Saturday, October 13, 2012, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, October 14, 2012, 2:00pm
Thursday, October 18, 2012, 7:30pm
Friday, October 19, 2012, 7:30pm
Saturday, October 20, 2012, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, October 21, 2012, 2:00pm
Friday, October 26 2012, 7:30pm
Saturday, October 27, 2012, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, October 28, 2012, 2:00pm
Thursday, November 1, 2012, 7:30pm
Friday, November 2, 2012, 7:30pm
Saturday, November 3, 2012, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, November 4, 2012, 2:00pm