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Murder, mystery, mayhem, merriment collide in 'The 39 Steps'

The zany, madcap comedy mystery based on an Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name, “The 39 Steps” opens Friday, April 25 at Olathe Civic Theatre Association in Olathe, Kan.
Shelly Stewart Banks and Courtesy of OCTA

Alfred Hitchcock’s black and white murder mystery changes from sinister to hilarious when re-crafted into the comedy play, “The 39 Steps” as a cast of four actors portray 150 characters in a mysterious adaptation opening Friday, April 25 in Olathe, Kan. produced by Olathe Civic Theatre Association.

Shelly Stewart Banks directs the comedy for OCTA as an ending for their 2014 season and features an ensemble cast of Peter Leondedis, Carrie Lenahan, Dave Fullerton and Charles Christesson–all taking on the myriad of parts and diverse characters for the rapid-fire comedy, a spokesman for OCTA said. “The 39 Steps” concludes OCTA’s 40th consecutive season.

“Adapted from the book and Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 movie of the same name, the play takes place over the days following a mysterious murder of a spy in Richard Hannay's apartment. Racing through the Scottish countryside, Hannay meets a variety of characters in search of the clues to the "39 Steps," OCTA said. “With a cast of four actors playing the myriad of people in the adventure, the play is a whirlwind of excitement and Monty Python-esque comedy.”

“The 39 Steps” stands apart from other run of the mill comedies and boasts to be Broadway’s longest running comedy. According to website: ibdb.com, the show ran for nearly 800 performances from 2008-10.

Just imagine a mix of Monty Python and Alfred Hitchcock. Hard to imagine? Then see the show and expect to laugh. Cast members must change costumes, personalities, characters as they spin around as one character and face the audience as another. The rapid fire dialogue and character changes keep audiences tuned-in and alert when not laughing.

The play from John Buchan opens April 25 and runs weekends through May 11.

Olathe Civic Theatre Association began as Olathe Community Theatre Association in 1973. OCTA produced shows at various locations throughout Olathe. In 2013 the group officially changed its name to the Olathe Civic Theatre Association to better reflect the breadth and caliber of the theatre experience it provides, a press release said.

“Through the generosity of volunteers, season ticket holders, donors, city and community, in addition to dedicated Board of Directors, OCTA has grown into one of the most successful and progressive community theaters in the entire Kansas City metropolitan area,” a spokesman said.

Reservations may be made through the website: olathetheatre.org. OCTA is located at 500 E. Loula, Olathe, Kansas.