“The 39 Steps” began life as a novel and has been made into at least three movies, but the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock version is the favorite. It's the one that Patrick Barlow and John Buchan raided for their stage version.
It's early March in 1955, and a blizzard is blowing across the Kansas plains. When the bus from Kansas City pulls into its regular stop at Grace's Cafe, the local sheriff tells the driver that they'll have to wait there until the road crews can clear the highways ahead of them.
I have a list of movies that should not have been made into stage musicals. I haven't seen the movie of “Dirty Dancing,” but my friends who were at the opening of the stage version at the Fox and have seen the movie told me that the stage version is very true to the movie. Maybe too true. Which is why I might add it to my list.
Naomi Iizuka wrote “Anon(ymous)” for a children's theatre. She tells the story of a young man who was separated from his mother as they were escaping the violence in their native land.
With its skimpy costumes and abundant references in word and deed to sex of various kinds, “The Rocky Horror Show” might seem an unlikely choice for a group calling themselves Family Musical Theater. But someone who first saw “Rocky Horror” on stage or screen 30 years ago could well be joined by a grandchild at this production for a pleasant family outing.
We recently saw a musical about people who kill presidents. Now we have a musical about people who kill anyone who gets in the way of what they want. It's being done by New Line Theatre. They've already done the presidential one three times. This musical is "Bonnie and Clyde," about the curiously fascinating pair of young Depression-era outlaws.
An incident of gay bashing lies at the center of playwright Diana Son's "Stop Kiss." We don't see the actual violence. We see what precedes it and what follows it. But the scenes don't come in chronological order. Before and after mix.
The current Alpha Players production takes place in medieval England, as a historian, played with plummy BBC vowels by Chuck Brinkley, informs us. So Destiny Graham's set shows us the facade of a beautifully painted medieval castle. But obviously painted. Obviously a stage set. We are not visiting a realistic representation of King Arthur's Camelot. This is "Spamalot." Monty Python's "Spamalot". It's a show.
Who but Stephen Sondheim would think of a musical about people who shoot at presidents. It's called "Assassins," with Sondheim's music and lyrics and a book by John Weidman. And it works, both as script and in this production.
"Off the Map" is not an easy play to do. It has something a little Chekhovian about it. A family, a friend, an unexpected visitor, isolated, with troubles personal, financial, even, suddenly, erotic.