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Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013

‘39 Steps’ in Kettle Moraine State Park

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The story of The 39 Steps goes back to 1915. Scottish John Buchan wrote the adventure while languishing in bed with an ulcer. The story was serialized in a British magazine. Twenty years later Alfred Hitchcock turned it into a film, considered one of his greatest early pictures. Seven decades later, a comic stage parody of the film debuted in England. That parody, which calls for the entire cast of characters to be played by four actors, was a great success and has been produced numerous times since, including once at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. This month, Phantom Cicada Theatre comes to SummerStage at Kettle Moraine State Park for an outdoor production of the comedy directed by Drew Brhel.

Brhel is a local theater veteran who has proven to be quite talented both onstage and off over the years. Here, he is tackling a show that has the challenge of balancing comedy with suspense in an outdoor production that needs to flow across the stage with precision and grace. Aiding him in the task is a good cast: Nate Press, Libby Amato, William Bolz and Brian Faracy. Brhel is taking the challenge seriously. He recently put out a call for kokens—a host of black-clad figures “who the audience sort of agrees not to notice”—that will aid in keeping the action moving fluidly. Sounds interesting.

Phantom Cicada’s production of The 39 Steps runs Aug. 30-Sept. 14 at Kettle Moraine State Park. For tickets, call 262-337-1560 or visit summerstageofdelafield.org.

 

Theatre Happenings

Based on the acclaimed E.L. Doctorow novel, the musical Ragtime opens the season for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater at the Quadracci Powerhouse Theater, Sept. 17-Oct. 27. For tickets, call 414-224-9490 or visit milwaukeerep.com.

The enchanting Mary MacDonald Kerr stars in Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s The Detective’s Wife. Directed by James Tasse, the story of a woman investigating the death of her husband in Chicago runs Sept. 18-Oct. 13 at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre. For tickets, call 414-291-7800 or visit chamber-theatre.com.

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