CENTERVILLE — What do you get when you combine five actors, 150 roles and an Alfred Hitchcock adaptation? “39 Steps” of laughter and mayhem.
The CenterPoint Theatre will open “39 Steps,” a play taken from an adaptation of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, on Sept. 30 in the theater’s black box theater, Leishman Hall.
Director Josh Richardson said the show is one of the most unique and interesting shows he has ever directed, or been a part of.
“It’s an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation,’ Richardson said. He pointed out the original story was written in the 1800s, then spruced up by Hitchcock and then made into a play years later. “And now we are putting our own twist on it ... and you will have to come to the show to see what that is.”
The show has only five actors, but there are 150 roles. The lead character, Richard Hannay, played by Anthony Lovato, plays just one character and his love interests, Annabella, Margaret and Pamela, are played by one person, Natalie Peterson. The other three actors, Michael Gardner, Josh Curtis and Jessica Love, each play at least 40 roles apiece, Richardson said.
WHAT: “ The 39 Steps”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 22, on Mondays and Thursday-Saturday.
WHERE: CenterPoint Theatre, Leishman Hall, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville
ADMISSION: $15/person. 801-298-1302 or www.CPTUtah.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office.
The show follows the story of the unlikely hero, Hannay, who leads a pretty boring life until one night at the theater, when he meets a beautiful and mysterious woman, according to information from Centerpoint.
She confesses to being a spy and tells him she has uncovered another group of spies known as The 39 Steps. She says she is afraid for her life — and then she winds up dead.
Hannay gets thrown into her crazy world. The five actors’ skills get “put to the test” in the show, according to the theater information.
Richardson agrees, but emphasized that they all rise to the occasion. “All the actors have so much versatility and have been able to take their characters and run with them,” he said.
Richardson himself is no stranger to the stage — either on it or behind the scenes, particularly at CenterPoint. This is his second time directing in the black box theater; he has directed four shows on the main stage. “I have been around a while. I’ve been involved in theater for 25 years, and this is one of the most unique shows I’ve done,” Richardson said.
A unique element of the CenterPoint show is that the audience sees everything. With five actors and 150 characters, there are obvious costume changes and scene changes — and that all takes place in front of the audience.
“It can be tricky, but it’s part of our approach to not hide anything from the audience,” Richardson said. The director thinks it will set up a different expectation from the audience and make for a more intimate setting. “It’s definitely something they haven’t seen before,” he said.
The show also has a great deal of madcap humor. “It’s a very loving re-creation of the movie, but also a spoof of the movie at the same time,” Richardson noted. “We have created a show we want to see.”