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'The 39 Steps' debuts Friday at Tower Theater

March 21, 2012 : By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service

The 39 Steps


  • March 23 – 7:30 p.m.
  • March 24 – 2 p.m.,
    7:30 p.m.
  • March 25 – 2:30 p.m.
  • March 26* – 7:30 p.m.
  • March 27 – 7:30 p.m.

* Indicates a Talkback performance (an open Q&A with the director, designers and selected actors after the show). 

Liberty University’s Department of Theatre Arts will showcase Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, opening on Friday, March 23 in the Tower Theater.

The original storyline is considered to be one of the earliest “man-on-the-run” tales. A 1915 novel by John Buchan inspired a 1935 Hitchcock film of the same name. The film was adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow. Though the Hitchcock film was a melodramatic spy adventure, Barlow’s version is more of a comedy, intended to be both a parody and a celebration of the classic spy film noir genre.

Directed by Theatre Arts professor Neal Brasher, Liberty’s performance features a cast of five who will be playing more than 40 roles, with some playing several characters at once. Two of the actors will be playing about 20 characters each.

The show requires a great deal of skill and creativity, Brasher said, as actors must display “the speed, timing and the rhythm required for fast-paced comedy.”

Filled with puns, physical comedy and quick character changes, this show is sure to incite much laughter from the audience.

“Somebody does a line, he turns around, puts on another hat, and he turns around and he is somebody else — somebody else with a different accent from a different part of the country,” Brasher explained. “There are a varying number of accents that are required in this particular play.”

The show features an array of talent behind the scenes as well.

“This is a very technical-heavy show as far as the sound effects and lighting effects and music and various things that are going to be coming in from the technical side,” Brasher said. “The stage manager, the sound engineer, the lightboard operator — those people really have to be on their toes for this show because things happen so quickly and a lot of things happen at the same time.”

The 39 Steps features Kyle Rogers, an Irene Ryan Award nominee, in the lead role of Richard Hannay.

The show will run through Tuesday, March 27, with showtimes of 7:30 p.m. on March 23, 24, 26 and 27, 2 p.m. on March 24, and 2:30 p.m. on March 25.

  • Liberty University’s Department of Theatre Arts offers a B.A. in Theatre Arts, as well as a minor in Theatre Arts. During the course of study, there are many opportunities for students to hone their skills as six to eight productions a year are produced in the 640-seat Tower Theater.