Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

TheatreWorks Presents THE 39 STEPS, Closes 2/13


The theatre's most outrageous, outlandish, uproarious, comic thriller, THE 39 STEPS, explodes onto the stage at TheatreWorks, the nationally acclaimed theater of Silicon Valley.  Adapted by Patrick Barlow from the book by John Buchan and the movie by Alfred Hitchcock, this hilarious spoof abounds with chicanery, espionage, dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and devastatingly beautiful women.  Called "Absurdly enjoyable, gleefully theatrical...a perfect soufflé," by The  New York Times, THE 39 STEPS  features four fearless actors playing dozens of roles and creating trains, planes, moors, and more, with little more than the coats on their backs in a wildly funny flight to the height of theatrical invention.  Featuring Mark Anderson Phillips, Cassidy Brown, Rebecca Dines, and Dan Hiatt, with TheatreWorks Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley at the helm, THE 39 STEPS closes February 13 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.  For tickets and information, the public may call 650-463-1960 or visit
Hitchcockian references fly like birds in THE 39 STEPS.  Richard Hannay is a notorious fugitive, and a man who knows too much, and Pamela is a breathtaking blonde, just a stranger on a train.  This irresistible Broadway smash hurtles the unlikely pair north by northwest in a dizzying pursuit to Scotland's most remote highlands, leaving audiences with vertigo. With a beautiful, mysteriously murdered secret agent, a devious plot that threatens to destroy the safety of England, and a handsome square-jawed hero on a race across the country to catch a thief, this exuberantly funny show is an ingenious homage to the master's great films.*

THE 39 STEPS began as an adventure novel published in 1915 by John Buchan, and the first of five novels featuring "Richard Hannay," an all-action hero with a stiff upper lip and a miraculous knack for getting himself out of sticky situations.  The novel was adapted for film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935 starring Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll.  The film departed substantially from the book and introduced the two major female characters. In 1995 two writers based in the North of England, Nobby Dimon and Simon Corble, came up with a two-man version of The 39 Steps which toured with great success to small venues, based on both John Buchan's book and on the highly reputed 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film version.  CelebratEd English actor and comedian Patrick Barlow was commissioned to adapt the script for a stronger, somewhat larger production.  His adaptation played at London's Tricycle Theatre in August 2006, and was so successful it gained an immediate transfer to the West End, where it is still running.  The show opened on Broadway in 2008 where it ran for over two years before moving Off-Broadway.  The New York Post declared THE 39 STEPS "The most entertaining show on Broadway," and The New York Times called it "Theatre at its finest."
Patrick Barlow is an English actor, comedian, and playwright. His comedic alter ego, "Desmond Olivier Dingle," is the Founder, Artistic Director, and Chief Executive of the two-man National Theatre of Brent, which has performed on stage, television, and radio since 1980.  The National Theatre of Brent's satirical productions include The Charge of the Light Brigade, Wagner's Ring, The Messiah, All the World's a Globe, and The Arts and How They Was Done. The National Theatre of Brent's company has included Jim Broadbent as "Wallis," and guest-starred such luminaries as Ben Kingsley, Harriet Walter, Juliet Stevenson, and Brian Cox.  Barlow has appeared in major motion pictures including Nanny McPhee, Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill, and Shakespeare in Love. 
Sir Alfred Hitchcock was a celebratEd English filmmaker and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres.  Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchock fashioned for himself a distinctive and recognizable directorial style intended to draw viewers deep into the intrigue onscreen.  His stories frequently featured fugitives on the run from the law alongside gorgeous leading ladies, surprising audiences with twist endings and thrilling plots. Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. He is most widely celebrated for his films Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, and To Catch a Thief.  A 2007 poll of film critics in Britain's Daily Telegraph declared "Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else." 
TheatreWorks has assembled an outstanding cast of TheatreWorks veterans including Mark Anderson Phillips as "Richard Hannay" and Rebecca Dines as "Pamela" and "Annabella."  Phillips was widely acclaimed for his portrayal of "Dorian," the unstable violinist in Opus at TheatreWorks where he has also appeared in Theophilus North, As You Like It, The Grapes of Wrath, Proof, and Charlie's Aunt.  Other credits include roles at Aurora Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Center REPertory Company, Marin Theatre Company, the Magic Theatre, and San Jose Repertory Theatre.  Additionally, he has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the New York International Fringe Festival.  Ms. Dines has appeared many times at TheatreWorks including Distracted, Twentieth Century, The Elephant Man, The Sisters Rosenweig, Shakespeare in Hollywood, and Living Out, among others.  Her regional credits include roles at Aurora Theatre Company, B. Street Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory Theatre, and San Jose Repertory Theatre. 
Cassidy Brown and Dan Hiatt return to TheatreWorks as the constable, the conductor, the innkeeper, the villain, and dozens of other roles in the production.  MR. Brown has appeared at TheatreWorks in Distracted and Doubt, A Parable.  Regional credits include San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Shotgun Players, The Jewish Theater of San Francisco, the Magic Theatre, and Willows Theatre.  Mr. Hiatt's previous TheatreWorks credits include Twentieth Century and Spinning Into Butter.  His regional credits include roles at American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Festival, Marin Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and the Pasadena Playhouse
TheatreWorks founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley, who helmed the multi record-breaking World Premiere musical Emma, directs THE 39 STEPS. Kelley has earned Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for TheatreWorks' productions of Caroline, or Change; Ragtime; Rags; Another Midsummer Night; the West Coast Premiere of Jane Eyre; and the Sondheim classics Sunday in the Park with George; Pacific Overtures; Into the Woods; and Sweeney Todd. Additionally, he is the recipient of Bay Area Drama-Logue Awards for his direction of Pacific Overtures, Ah, Wilderness!, and Once in a Lifetime; and Back Stage West Garland Awards for his direction of Side Show and Sunday in the Park with George. Since founding TheatreWorks in 1970, Kelley has directed over 150 productions for the company.
With over 8,000 subscribers and 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatergoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast from across the country.  A home for artists developing new works, it was at TheatreWorks that Memphis, the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical (now in its second year on Broadway) was first work-shopped and received its world premiere.

Related Articles View More San Francisco Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

More Hot Stories For You