PCPA Theaterfest opens summer season with
The 39 Steps and Hairspray

PCPA Theaterfest’s ambitious season continues with simultaneous openings on June 16 in both Santa Maria and Solvang. The big musical Hairspray is chockfull of favorites such as “Good Morning Baltimore,” “I’m a Big Girl Now” and the infectious “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” It will play in Santa Maria’s Marian Theatre from June 16 through July 2 before transferring to Solvang. At the same time, the hilarious-romantic-thriller, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, remounts in the Solvang Festival Theater. Slocity News called its Santa Maria run “A triumph of timing and ingenuity.” The Sun observed, “Laughs come in dizzying succession,” and The Tribune called it, “Extraordinary! … Brilliant and fun.” The 39 Steps plays under the stars from June 16 through July 3.

The 39 Steps features just four actors who play over 100 characters. It’s part juicy spy novel, part Monty Python, and it preserves the brilliance originally created by Hitchcock, the master of suspense.

Andrew Philpot plays our suave hero Richard Hannay who learns from a beautiful spy about a plot of international espionage. The woman is killed in Hannay’s flat and he suddenly finds himself caught up in a race from London to Scotland in hopes of stopping military secrets from being smuggled out of the country. As he searches for the secret of “The 39 Steps” he is doggedly pursued by the police who believe he is the murderer. Three of the female roles will be played by Stephanie Philo while the remaining multitude of characters (spies, policemen, inn keepers, traveling salesmen, etc.) are played by just two actors credited as clown #1 (Peter S. Hadres) and clown #2 (Evans Eden Jarnefeldt).

Leading the artistic team is Director Mark Booher who says the play is much like a roller coaster full of twists and turns and just plain delightful fun. Scenic Designer is Kent Homchick, Costume Designer is Juliane Starks, Lighting Designer is Tamar Geist, Sound Designer is Elisabeth Rebel, and Christine Collins is the Equity Production Stage Manager.

The play remains very close to the film, particularly in terms of its frenetic timing. But putting the movie – a farce-like whirlwind adventure – on stage requires ingenious theatrical devises to instantly go from a chase scene on a train, to a plane crash, to a luxurious Scottish manor, then to a London flat, or suddenly to The London Palladium. Also occurring at breakneck speed are nearly one hundred costume changes, which often happen right before the audience in the blink of an eye.

The 39 Steps was one of a dozen motion pictures Alfred Hitchcock made in England before coming to America. And though the novel has been adapted for the screen nearly a half a dozen times, Hitchcock’s is considered to be the finest to date. And the remakes aren’t over yet. It was announced this past fall that Robert Towne (Chinatown) would be writing the screenplay and directing a new remake of Hitchcock’s version of The 39 Steps with a release anticipated sometime in 2011.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) credits Hitchcock with directing 67 titles including TV, shorts, and suspense films which he created up until 1976 and include Notorious, Rope, Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds. In 2002, MovieMaker Magazine listed 25 of the most influential directors of all time and ranked Alfred Hitchcock number 1 on their list.

Hairspray is directed and choreographed by Michael Jenkinson and features Bree Murphy as Tracy Turnblad the girl who turns The Corny Collins Show on its ear. Her mom/agent Edna will be played by Sam Zeller (Les Misérables). The show is based on the original film Hairspray from 1988 which is centered on Tracy making her way onto a local TV dance program in 1962. Once onboard, Tracy uses her celebrity status to launch a campaign to integrate the show. Along the way she must defeat the scheming producer, displace the reigning Teen Queen, and win the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin while keeping her “do” in place.

Director Michael Jenkinson who oversaw last summer’s powerful West Side Story, said Hairspray offers us an unconventional world of extremes. With an unsung, atypical heroine in Tracy Trunblad – instead of a conventional arc from chaos and crisis to resolution and redemption – she moves from happiness to more happiness. The show is fused with much of the 60’s musical styles: Motown, Elvis, rhythm and blues, and rock ‘n’ roll. The cast also includes John Keating as Link Larkin, George Walker as Corny Collins, Natasha Harris as Penny Pingleton, Jillian Van Niel as Amber Von Tussle, along with Elizabeth Stuart and Billy Breed. Also featured as one of the Dynamites is Joanna Jones from Arroyo Grande who’s band The Backbeats were runner ups on NBC’s The Sing-Off Season 2.

Hairspray designers include DeAnne Kennedy, scenery; Frederick P. Deeben, costumes; Jen ‘Z’ Zornow, lights; Elisabeth Rebel, sound; and Aleah Van Woert is the stage manager.

Hairspray opened on Broadway in August 2002. It went on to receive 12 Tony nominations, win eight and run for over 2,600 performances. The show received its international premiere in London in October of 2007 and received a record-setting 11 Olivier nominations, winning three. It played for over 1000 performances. The show has been on national and international tours ever since. The 2007 film based on this version of the musical broke the record for biggest sales at opening of a cinematic musical (previous record holders included Mamma Mia and High School Musical 3). As John Waters – writer and director of the original film – quipped in a 2002 piece for The New York Times, “the real reason I’m praying that the musical…succeeds is that if it’s a hit, there will be high school productions, and finally the fat girl and the drag queen will get the starring parts.”

For Single Tickets and more information call the box office – (805) 922-8313 – between 12:30 and 7pm Wednesday through Sunday, or visit www.pcpa.org.

Information about Group Sales for 12 or more patrons may be obtained by contacting groups@pcpa.org or by calling 1-800-PCPA-123.

For the best seating, lowest prices, and exclusive privileges, become a season ticket holder. Subscription Packages start with as few as 4 plays, or see all 8 throughout the season for the ultimate theatre experience. Call the box office to receive a subscription brochure or email: boxoffice@pcpa.org.

New this season, the PCPA VIP Membership. For $20.00 a month, members are entitled to attend all mainstage productions as well as purchase additional rush tickets for $10 on day of performance ($11 in Solvang). VIP Members also receive invitations to special design presentations, student sharings and other events. Visit www.pcpa.org/vip for all the details. (8-play subscribers receive all the VIP Membership privileges too).

Just the facts…
What: Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps
When: June 16 – July 3, 2011
Where: Solvang Festival Theater – 420 2nd St., Solvang
Times: 8pm Wednesday – Sunday
Tickets: $31.00 – $35.00 for adults. Discounts for children, students, seniors
and preview performances June 16 and 17.
Box Office: (805) 922-8313
Internet: www.pcpa.org

Just the facts…

What: Hairspray
When: June 16 – July 2, 2011
Where: Marian Theatre – 800 S. College, Santa Maria
GPS: enter 1100 S. Bradley, Santa Maria, Ca 93454
Times: 1:30pm – Wed., Sat., Sun.
7pm – Thu., Fri., Sat.
Tickets: $29.50 – $32.50 for adults. Discounts for children, students, seniors
and preview performances June 16 and 17.
Box Office: (805) 922-8313
Internet: www.pcpa.org

Just the facts…

What: Hairspray
When: July 8 – 31, 2011
Where: Solvang Festival Theater – 420 2nd St., Solvang
Times: 8pm Tuesday – Sunday
Tickets: $36.00 – $39.75 for adults. Discounts for children, students, seniors
and preview performances June 16 and 17.
Box Office: (805) 922-8313
Internet: www.pcpa.org
The 2011 PCPA Summer Season:

The 39 Steps
June 16 – July 3 – Solvang Festival Theater

June 16 – July 2 – Marian Theatre, Santa Maria
July 8 – 31 – Solvang Festival Theater

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
July 15 – 30 – Marian Theatre, Santa Maria
August 5 – 21– Solvang Festival Theater

My Fairytale – American Premiere
August 12 – 20 – Marian Theatre, Santa Maria
August 26 – September 25– Solvang Festival Theater

Caroline, or Change
September 1 – 18 – Marian Theatre, Santa Maria

Now in its 47th season, PCPA Theaterfest is the Central Coast’s Resident Professional Theatre Company, and has infused the national theatre scene with thousands of trained actors and theatrical technicians over the years in its conservatory.

The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA) of Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California supports a unique, fully-accredited vocational training program for aspiring actors and theatre technicians. PCPA is the only training program of its kind offered by a community college in the United States.