Peninsula Players Theatre to Present Riotous Spy-Thriller THE 39 STEPS

Peninsula Players Theatre, America's oldest professional resident summer theater and Door County's theatrical icon, is thrilled to present the riotous spy-thriller "The 39 Steps" September 7 through October 16, 2016.

"The 39 Steps" is adapted by Patrick Barlow (based on the Alfred Hitchcock film) and the book "The Thirty-Nine Steps" by John Buchan. This exciting Tony Award-winning adventure mixes a fast-paced boisterous comedy with an action packed spy-thriller. More than 150 characters from Hitchcock's film are performed by a ridiculously talented cast of three men and one woman.

Set in 1935, British everyman, Richard Hannay, finds himself bored and tired of his life. "Come on Hannay," he says to himself. "Pull yourself together man! Find something to do, you bloody fool!" Beware of what you wish for!

After a trip to the theater, Hannay soon finds himself inadvertently embarked on the adventure of a lifetime after a chance encounter with a mysterious female. He is launched on a cross-country caper to clear his name of a murder charge. "The 39 Steps" is packed with non-stop laughs, narrow escapes, plane crashes, handcuffs and romance - all while Scotland Yard's finest are on Hannay's heels in unrelenting pursuit.

The crazy madness of "The 39 Steps" is under the direction of Karen Sheridan, who directed last season's award-winning musical "Nunsense." Sheridan was awarded Best Director and the musical Best Musical by voters at BroadwayWorld.com/Milwaukee.

"When I started working on 'The 39 Steps,' I wanted to sit down with a bucket of popcorn and watch all the Hitchcock classics," Sheridan said. "The play has the suspense of Hitchcock with a comic edge. The audience takes a ride with the main character, and neither he nor the audience know the whole story until later in the play. And by then we're all crossing our fingers that he saves the day! And the other characters he meets (played by the other 3 actors) are a festive part of the journey."

Sheridan's Peninsula Players directing credits also include "Heroes," "Is He Dead?," "Rumors," "Fools" and "The Fantasticks." She was on faculty at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and directs, teaches and performs in the Detroit, Michigan area.

Neil Brookshire makes his Peninsula Players stage debut as Richard Hannay, British everyman who is trying to exonerate himself of a murder charge, while saving his King and country. Brookshire performed in the Peninsula Players winter play reading of "Two Story House." He recently played Cinna in "Julius Caesar" and Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Door Shakespeare. Other regional credits include Boise Contemporary Theater, Cadence Theatre Co, Company of Fools in Idaho, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Opera Idaho, Seattle Novyi Theatre, and 10 seasons with Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

Erica Elam ("The Hollow," "The Full Monty") portrays Anabella Schmidt, Pamela and Margaret. Annabella is a German secret agent, Pamela is a very attractive British woman who gets pulled into Hannay's adventure and Margaret is the wife of a Scottish farmer who dreams of life in the big city. Elam has traveled the world with the critically-acclaimed improvisational musical group "Baby Wants Candy." She has performed at The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare and teaches improvisation and acting at The Second City.

Joe Foust ("The Hollow," "Is He Dead?" "Making God Laugh" and "Tom, Dick and Harry") and Kevin McKillip ("Around the World in 80 Days," "Rumors," Noises Off," "Cabaret") both veteran Peninsula Players with more than 50 acting and directing credits between them at the theatre-in-a-garden. Foust and McKillip will portray the other 146 characters in "The 39 Steps" from British bobbies, porters, milkmen, officers from Scotland Yard to specific characters such as stage performer Mr. Memory, and the man of mystery, Professor Jordan.

Foust's Chicago theater credits include acting at The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Wisdom Bridge, Remy Bumppo, Theatre Wit, First Folio, Next and many more. His regional credits include First Stage, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Cleveland Playhouse, New Victory on Broadway and Syracuse Stage.

McKillip regional credits include American Players Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Ozark Actor's Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Iowa Shakespeare and the Stratford Festival of Canada where he received the Tyrone Guthrie Award. He is also recipient of the Rubber Chicken Award from the clown alley at Big Apple Circus.

The creative team of "The 39 Steps" includes award-winning regional artisans including scenic designer J Branson ("Nunsense" and "Always Patsy Cline"); costume designer Kärin Simonson Kopischke ("Sunday in the Park with George," "The Hollow," "Chapatti"); lighting designer Steven Roy White ("Chapatti," "The Tin Woman," "A Real Lulu"); Sound Designer Christopher Kriz ("Lend Me a Tenor," "The Mystery of Irma Vep"); and properties designers Wendy A. Huber and Pauline Olesky.

"The 39 Steps" is sponsored by Alibi Marina, Harbor Guest House and Ken Raupach.

"'The 39 Steps' is just nuts!" said Artistic Director Greg Vinkler. "It's imaginative, funny, romantic and smart. There are lots of allusions to other Alfred Hitchcock films, but one does not need to be a Hitchcock fan to enjoy the mad adventure of our hero. It's a roller coaster ride of theatrical magic, quick changes, suspense and outright silliness. It's a terrific way to wrap up our 81st season!"

"The 39 Steps" is the winner of two Tony Awards, a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and France's Molière Award for Best Comedy. "The 39 Steps" has performed in more than 20 countries with 771 performances on Broadway and has received more than a billion laughs.

Peninsula Players is a member of Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers as well a member of the United Scenic Artists.

Prior to performances in the fall, patrons are welcome to arrive 90 minutes before curtain time to enjoy the grounds. Come early to view the setting sun over the waters of Green Bay from the theater's cedar-lined shore and relax in the ambience of the Beer Garden and its pre-show bonfire (weather permitting). Special note, there are four Sunday 3 p.m. performances scheduled for "The 39 Steps."

"The 39 Steps" performs Tuesday through Sunday at 7 p.m. except Sundays, September 18 and October 2, 9 and 16 at 3 p.m. Individual ticket prices range from $37 to $43 with discounts for groups of 15 or more. There are no performances on Mondays. For more information or to reserve tickets phone the Peninsula Players Box Office at (920) 868-3287 or visit its website at www.peninsulaplayers.com.

Peninsula Players is America's Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theatre and is unique in the country for its diverse productions, continuing loyalty to a resident company, and its beautiful setting of 16 wooded acres along the cedar-lined shores of Green Bay. In the past 81 years, the theater has become a Door County landmark and its cornerstone arts institution, attracting audience members from throughout Wisconsin and across the country.

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