Category Archives: 39 Steps

THE 39 STEPS Extends Run! Now Playing through December 19!

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THE 39 STEPS | Extended through December 19
Due to popular demand, THE 39 STEPS has been extended until December 19. Don’t miss the show that has audiences dying of laughter and the Tampa Bay Times raving “You will laugh loudly and often, I promise.” BOOK NOW

Added Performances for THE 39 STEPS:
Wednesday, December 16 | 8PM
Thursday, December 17 | 8PM
Friday, December 18 | 8PM
Saturday, December 19 | 8PMRead the rest

Origins of the 39 Steps Part II

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In Which a Story Plays on the Silver Screen: Alfred Hitchcock & the Film
Shannon Hurst

Be sure to check out Part I of the Origins of the 39 STEPS series: In Which a Story Cures Boredom.

Known the world over as the supreme Master of Suspense, filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock received his famous moniker following the debut of his 1935 film The 39 Steps. Released at a time where cinematic audiences were again on the verge of another World War, the film served to bolster Hitchcock’s career—leading him directly to a contract in Hollywood—as well as to secure the popularity of spy-thrillers on the big screen.

Having read John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps in grade school, a young Alfred Hitchcock believed the thrilling, expansive adventure and unsuspecting, innocent action hero would serve well as the foundation of a great suspense film. Once the burgeoning director had completed his first spy film, The Man Who Knew Too Much, he would begin to work on re-crafting Buchan’s novel. Altering the story’s title to The 39 Steps, Hitchcock recrafted many of the details of Hannay’s journey to first make it more suitable for cinematic audiences, then on the verge of yet another World War, primarily by including the addition of the now-iconic femme fatale and “cool blonde” female characters, and also to heighten its elements of suspense, or perpetual state of anticipation. The result was not only a tremendous success for its director, but another raving success for the story of Richard Hannay.

Hitchcock’s work on The 39 Steps and his other spy-thrillers helped to shape his aesthetic that is now familiar to his contemporary audiences. One such creative element employed by Hitchcock in this film he would refer to as his “MacGuffin”—a plot key that is both critically important but utterly vague; Hannay learns from Annabella, a mysterious femme fatale, that there is such a thing as the 39 Steps and that they are dangerous and important, but leaves Hannay and his audiences to fill in any remaining blanks. The film is briskly-paced—another alteration … Read the rest

THE 39 STEPS – Special Performances

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the 39 steps special performances

Post-Show Talkback | Sunday November 29 & Sunday December 6 | 

Immediately following the the 3PM performance, stay for an opportunity to speak with the cast of THE 39 STEPS. (Limited Availability) Book Show Here.


Craft Beer Night with Green Bench Brewing Co | Wednesday December 2 | 

Arrive early on Wednesday December 2nd for a special craft beer tasting hosted by Green Bench Brewing Co before the show. Tasting begins a 7PM | Performance at 8PM. Book Show Here.


Young Professionals Night with Station House | Friday December 4 | 

For the young and the young-at-heart! Come see THE 39 STEPS and then enjoy a special after-party Meet & Greet reception with the Cast & Creative Team at Station House (260 1st St S – just a few blocks away!). One Free Beer or Wine per person, Appetizers served, Live Jazz. Performance at 8PM | Meet & Greet at 10PM. Book Show Here.  *It is not required, though suggested, to have seen THE 39 STEPS.Read the rest

THE 39 STEPS – Audience Response

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Take a look at what audiences are saying about THE 39 STEPS adapted by Patrick Barlow, based on the Film by Alfred Hitchcock, and directed by Stephanie Gularte. The cast includes Richard B. Watson, Juliana Davis, Joey Panek, and Jed Peterson. For tickets and more info CLICK HERE.

THE 39 STEPS | Nov 18-Dec 13 |
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! Packed with non-stop laughs, over 150 zany characters, an on-stage plane crash, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance!… Read the rest


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39 blog

In Which a Story Cures Boredom:  John Buchan & the Novel

by Shannon Hurst

The spy thriller is an inescapable staple of both film and literature so entrenched in our national consciousness that it may hardly seem plausible the genre has existed for only a century.  Indeed, even the vast expanse of the James Bond universe, for instance, traces back to a singular story from 1915 called The Thirty-Nine Steps.  The short thriller (or “shocker” as this type of story was first known) was penned under a pseudonym of British war correspondent and propagandist John Buchan who, bedridden by an ailment and unable to engage in the war, turned to writing an adventure story to cure his boredom.


First printed in a now-defunct British publication of adventure stories for young men called Blackwood’s Magazine, Buchan’s story chronicled the exploits and misadventures of Richard Hannay, an unconventional character for contemporary literature of the time.  Hannay is an everyman, discontent with life, who is thrown unwittingly into a world of espionage and covert government efforts.  Rather than his fictional counterparts, he acts independently through his own resourcefulness and ingenuity than within the confines of any political or aristocratic system.  Both the magazine story and subsequent novel achieved monumental success – even now, as the novel has never gone out of print – which could be attributed in part to its relatable protagonist being hurled into such a thrilling adventure, and in part because of the particularly topical relevancy to its early twentieth-century readers.


The Thirty-Nine Steps plays heavily on the robust patriotism and xenophobia of a country in the midst of the First World War.  Not only could its readers relate to Hannay, they could relate to the events depicted in the story, or at least find them plausible.  Buchan’s readers to this point had engaged with this type of literature, known as Invasion Literature, for decades as it played on British anxieties of possible intrusion and destruction.  The country’s nervous and fearful sensibilities would continue through to the Second World War, when a new generation … Read the rest

THE 39 STEPS – Trailer

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Take a look at our trailer for THE 39 STEPS adapted by Patrick Barlow, based on the Film by Alfred Hitchcock, and directed by Stephanie Gularte. The cast includes Richard B. Watson, Juliana Davis, Joey Panek, and Jed Peterson.

THE 39 STEPS | Nov 18-Dec 13 |
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! Packed with non-stop laughs, over 150 zany characters, an on-stage plane crash, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance!

Click Here for Tickets and More Information About THE 39 STEPSRead the rest

THE 39 STEPS: From Page to Screen to Stage

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39 steps movie

If you’re anything like me, the version of THE 39 STEPS you’re most familiar with is the 1935 Hitchcock film starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. If you are me, then you watched it as part of a fairly random Hitchcock marathon during which you learned valuable lessons like “Communism is bad” and “Anything can be explained by Freudian psychology.” As we prepare to bring THE 39 STEPS to life onstage, however, I thought it would be fun to explore the many of versions of this now-classic tale.






While Hitchcock, Master of Suspense that he was, turned THE 39 STEPS into a thriller laced with plenty of political intrigue, the 1915 John Buchan novel is surprisingly fun. Narrated by Richard Hannay, the main character in all three versions, it feels like an adventure story being recounted by an explorer. It was, in fact, written as much to amuse its author as to entertain its readers. According to Buchan’s dedication to his friend Thomas Arthur Nelson:

39 steps book


You and I have long cherished an affection for that elementary type of tale which Americans call the ‘dime novel’ and which we know as the ‘shocker’ – the romance where the incidents defy the probabilities, and march just inside the borders of the possible. During an illness last winter I exhausted my store of those aids to cheerfulness, and was driven to write one for myself.




That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of political intrigue in the novel, only that our dear Mr. Hannay isn’t exactly unwilling to become involved. Bored with life in London, his reaction to revelations about spies and assassinations and conspiracies is a cool, “Things did happen occasionally, even in this God-forgotten metropolis.”


In the many versions of THE 39 STEPS, plenty of things happen, at least all the versions except Monsterpiece Theatre’s THE 39 STAIRS, a parody by Sesame Street featuring Grover the Muppet.


The play, written by Patrick Barlow, takes elements from both the book and the film to create something entirely new. … Read the rest

THE 39 STEPS in Grayscale | A Conversation with Scenic Designer Jerid Fox

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We recently sat down with THE 39 STEPS Scenic Designer Jerid Fox to discuss how he is raising the bar by designing an entirely grayscale production.

On translating a film to live theatre:

THE 39 STEPS here at American Stage is going to be quite the theatrical production and I think that’s what’s cool about it, we are doing a very exciting adventure. We’re going to invite our audiences to imagine with us and basically to play. I mean, it’s got murder, it’s got adventure, it’s got spies, but it’s also very funny. Because we are encountering those problems of putting a movie on stage, there is this “play-within-a-play” that’s happening [where we get to watch] four actors face challenges like “Okay, go create an airplane chase on stage with creates and boxes.”

On making an entirely grayscale set design:

Something interesting we are doing here at American Stage [is that] we are going to produce a grayscale production. So what does that mean? Well, Alfred Hitchcock obviously filmed in black and white. So, we are going to produce a “black and white” production. And on top of that layer will be bold saturated colors when something of importance comes up in that play. So if somebody dies, for instance, an entirely grayscale set will produce one pool of red blood or one really emerald green glove, for our villain. So were going to lead you along and drop some hints for that mystery, but it should also be a very visually intriguing production, which I am excited about doing.


On the challenges facing the production team:

For myself as the prop master, I can’t just go and rent something that I normally would just go and rent, so if it’s brown and wood grained, then I’m gonna have to paint it to be a gray scaled wood grain. And then also for our costumer, she has to sew everything in a greyscale. There’s gonna be a lot of building and creating, which is different from just renting certain pieces and it’s really about control. It’s about having a set Read the rest