The Playgoer: Is 39 Steps Doing a Q?

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is 39 Steps Doing a Q?

Another would-be closing Broadway show thinks about transferring down.

The Broadway producers of “Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps” have opened negotiations to move the quick-witted play to the Off Broadway venue New World Stages next year, according to the show’s lead producer, Bob Boyett. “The 39 Steps” is scheduled to close on Broadway on Jan. 10 after almost three years.
And lest anyone question whether Avenue Q's move was the inspiration:
“We think what Kevin [McCollum] did with ‘Avenue Q’ was brilliant, and we hope to follow,” Mr. Boyett said.
Note also the interest in New World Stages, current home of Q as well. (Indeed it is good times over there.)

One difference between the two shows, though, is that Q started Off Broadway (at the Vineyard) then transferred up, and then back down. 39 Steps opened on Broadway at the Roundabout, remember. (In their flagship American Airlines house.) Then it transferred to the Helen Hayes, a smaller Broadway house. So this would be its "Off Broadway debut" so to speak. (But don't expect to see that phrase in the ads.)

I wonder if the Roundabout still owns a piece of the show and are they a part of these negotiations?

So just when commercial Off Broadway was having its obit written, there's a resurgence. But if these shows thrive there, will that chiefly be as a result of their prominent exposure on Broadway first--like, Avenue Q winning a Tony? Still to be seen if a hit can open cold at New World Stages.

I guess Altar Boyz is doing ok, though.

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