Posted by: sycamorechamberofcommerce | September 18, 2018

Stage Coach Theatre Presents: The 39 Steps

The 39 Steps, a fast-paced comedy based on the English spy novel by John Buchan, is heading to Stage Coach Theatre in DeKalb via London and the Scottish moors.  Adapted by Patrick Barlow based on the original concept of Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon from the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name, the The 39 Steps revolves around what happens when Richard Hannay, a bored British subject in 1935 goes to the theatre, meets a woman who informs him of a plot to obtain highly classified information and wakes the following morning to find her murdered in his flat.  Chased by the authorities and a web of international spies, Hannay flees as he attempts to stay alive.

The 39 Steps is directed by Tim Ball (Night of the Living Dead, among others).  The cast features Mike Mattingly (Arsenic and Old Lace) as Hannay, Rebecca McCorkle (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, abridged), Bonnie Miller (California Suite), Scott Montavon (The Game’s Afoot) and Jason Reed (Play On!) as the rest of the characters.

The play calls for the entirety of the Hitchcock film The 39 Steps to be performed with a cast of five.  One actor plays the man on the run, Richard Hannay, while the other actors play all remaining characters: villains, men, women, children, sheep and the occasional inanimate object.  This often requires lightning fast quick-changes and the actors to occasionally play multiple characters at once.  It turns the Hitchcock spy thriller on its head and into an uproarious comedy.  The production is filled with allusions to and puns on the titles of other Hitchcock films, including Rear Window, Vertigo and North by Northwest.

So how do you take one of the best-selling and most popular spy novels of all time and make a comedy out of it?  Every scene is played for laughs.  “The play as written is filled with physical humor, sight gags and jokes,” Ball said.  “We’ve been trying out additional gags throughout rehearsals and see if they’ll work.”

Cast member Bonnie Miller who plays several roles including Hannay’s love interest Pamela, said, “I feel like we have the opportunity to really take the audience along for a wild ride that will keep them entertained for the entire show,” adding, “It’s been great having the opportunity to play multiple characters.  However, I do play Pamela for most of the play, and she’s probably both my favorite of my characters and the one that I identify with the most.”

The 39 Steps is easily the most physically demanding show I’ve ever been in.  This entire cast is in constant motion,” said Scott Montavon who plays more than 15 characters including Mr. Memory.   Ball adds, “Throughout the show, the cast continuously exit the stage only to return in a manner of seconds wearing a different costume or wig to become another character.”

Performances for The 39 Steps are September 20th through September 22nd and September 28th and 29th with a curtain time of 7:30, along with Sunday matinees on September 23rd and 30th with a curtain time of 2:00.  Tickets are $15 each or $13 for seniors and children age 13 and under.  To purchase tickets, visit our online website at  You can also call the Stage Coach box office which opens Sunday, September 16th.  The phone number is 815-758-1940.  Let the chase begin.

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