The 39 Steps comes to St. Dunstan’s Theatre Guild!

This wildly entertaining comedy farce amounts to an unforgettable evening!

Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre!  Told in 38 wildly imaginative scenes, the script re-enacts the original movie with only four actors playing multiple roles.  St. Dunstan’s brings this comedy to their indoor pavilion October 14th-29th.

The 39 Steps is a farce adapted by Patrick Barlow from the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock.  The play’s concept calls for the entirety of the 1935 adventure film The 39 Steps to be performed with a cast of only four.  This ridiculously talented cast includes Alan Canning, of Bloomfield Township, who plays the hero, Richard Hannay, while Julie Spittle of Troy plays the three women with whom he has romantic entanglements. Two other actors, John Rutherford (Rochester Hills) and Jake Zinke (Canton), play every other character in the show: heroes, villains, men, women, children and even the occasional inanimate object.  This often requires lightning fast quick changes and occasionally for them to play multiple characters at once. Thus the film’s serious spy story is played mainly for laughs, and the script is full of allusions to (and puns on the titles of) other Alfred Hitchcock films, including Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo and North by Northwest.

This 2-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning treat is packed with nonstop laughs.  “It’s fun and complicated at the same time,” says director Kathleen Lietz of Royal Oak.  “One of the reasons I wanted to direct this show is because it parodies the movie genre and utilizes a very abstract multi-purpose set.  So blocking and stage movement are very challenging.”  Lietz jumped at the chance to direct this show, explaining that “the play is open about how you approach it, so there is a lot of room for adding in your own creativity and vision.”  This is Lietz’s first time directing at St. Dunstan’s, and so far has found it to be a very warm and welcoming group, “there are so many talented people associated with this theatre.  It has been a great experience!”  She has previously directed shows at Stagecrafter’s in Royal Oak, Grosse Pointe Theatre, and Go Comedy in Ferndale, among others.

To add to the fun, and in the spirit of Halloween, St. Dunstan’s will be holding an Alfred Hitchcock Costume Contest during the performances on October 28th and 29th!  Dress like your favorite Alfred Hitchcock character or even as Alfred Hitchcock himself!  A prize will be given to the winner which will be determined by applause at intermission.

            Lietz is joined by a strong production staff including assistant director, Pam Richards of Waterford, apprentice Director Nat Towle of Bingham Farms, and Producer Mairo Towle of Bingham Farms.  The shows visual design is being created by Leslie Ann Pilling of Bloomfield Township, with construction by Tom Edson of Bloomfield Hills, and properties master Paul Dorset of Birmingham.  Obie Burch of Royal Oak and Jeff Foust of Canton pull the set together with lighting and sound.

            With over 150 characters for only 4 actors, the show’s amazing costumes were pulled together by Kathy Shapero and Roz Basherian, both from Bloomfield.  Anthony Marselese of Bingham Farms brings together the look with wigs and makeup.

St. Dunstan’s will present The 39 Steps on October 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 28, and 29 2011.  All performances are at 8:00 p.m., except for the Sunday matinee on the 23rd, which is at 2:00 p.m. 

Tickets are general admission and cost $20 each for adults and $18 each for students and seniors.  There is also a Group rate available. To reserve tickets call 1-888-71-TICKETS or visit

St. Dunstan’s is located at 400 Lone Pine Road between Lahser and Cranbrook roads. Parking is available in front of the theatre or across the street at Christ Church Cranbrook.

St. Dunstan’s Theatre Guild of Cranbrook is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to the ideal of excellence in local theatre, and offers theatrical productions open to the public between October and June each year.

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