Comic Mystery-Thriller The 39 Steps Opens at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               June 14, 2013

Contact: Lisa Higgins,          610.282.9455, ext. 4

Center Valley, PA — Just four actors portray 150 characters and tell one unforgettable story in The 39 Steps running June 19 through July 14 at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.  A mystery-thriller described as “where Hitchcock meets hilarious,” The 39 Steps previews June 19th and 20th, and opens June 21st.

The wild quick-change comedy of espionage and murder is based on the spy “shocker” novel by John Buchan and the 1935 film thriller of Alfred Hitchcock, as adapted by Patrick Barlow.

Directed by Matt Pfeiffer, an award-winning Philadelphia artist, the play features an exceptional cast. Portraying an ordinary man swept into an international chase – with his life on the line is William Connell as Richard Hannay. Hannay’s mid-life funk quickly dissipates when he catches the eye of a mysterious woman at the theatre, played by Genevieve Perrier.

Steve Burns (of Blue’s Clues renown) and Anthony Reimer play “Clown 1” and “Clown 2” — reenacting all of the characters and famous scenes from Hitchcock’s film with a few props and innumerable costume changes.
Samina Vieth has designed the set for multiple locations in 1935 London and Scotland, while Lisa Zinni has designed the costumes. Voice and text coach is Dudley Knight. Lighting is designed by Thom Weaver and sound by PSF’s resident designer Matthew GivenMarguerite Price serves as stage manager.

The 39 Steps
Adapted by Patrick Barlow
From the novel by John Buchan
From the movie of Alfred Hitchcock

Previews: June 19 and June 20

Opens: Friday, June 21

Closes: Sunday, July 14

 Performances: Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm – except for Saturday, June 22. Sunday, June 23 and July 7 at 7:30pm. No performance will be held on July 4.

Tickets: $25-55. Discounts for students, seniors, subscribers and groups.

Meet the actors: Q&A after all Thursday performances, except previews.

Box Office: 610.282.WILL [9455] Order online at:

The Festival’s 22nd season also features Oklahoma! (through June 30), The Importance of Being Earnest and Measure for Measure (in rep July 10 – August 4) Henry VIII (July 24 – August 4), and the children’s productions Beauty and the Beast and Shakespeare for Kids.

The production sponsors for The 39 Steps are Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy E. Nolan. Season sponsors are Dr. and Mrs. Frank J. Szarko, and associate season sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth.

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth and a professional, not-for-profit, theatre company. An independent 501 c 3 organization, PSF receives support from DeSales University and relies on contributions from individuals, government agencies, corporations and foundations. PSF is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Shakespeare Theatre Association.

STEVE BURNS, Clown 1. PSF: A Comedy of Errors (Dromio of Syracuse), Amadeus (Mozart), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Francis Flute). Best known as Steve on Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues. TV/Film: Homicide: Life On The Street, Law and Order, Yes Dear, Marie and Bruce, Netherbeast, Inc., Christmas on Mars. Steve has appeared nationally and on NPR as a storyteller for The Moth and has written albums of music for children and adults in collaboration with The Flaming Lips.

WILLIAM CONNELL, Richard Hannay. NY/Regional credits: A View from the Bridge (2010 Broadway revival), The Coast of Utopia (LCT), Hamlet (Aspen Music Festival), Earnest  (Gulfshore Playhouse), Pride & Prejudice (Geva Theatre Center), The Glass Menagerie (Two River Theatre), The Maddening Truth (Keen Co.),  As You Like It (Weston Playhouse), Sherlock Holmes, The Early Years (NYMF), All’s Well That Ends Well (TFANA), The Dinner Party (Lincoln Center Institute), Mary Stuart (NYCT), The Tempest (SRT) and others. TV/Film: Smash, Not Fade Away, Gossip Girl, Law & Order, Guiding Light.

MATTHEW GIVEN, Resident Sound Designer and Production Manager. He has designed over 40 productions for PSF including: The Winter’s Tale, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, King Lear, Dracula, Hamlet (2011), Romeo & Juliet (2010), Sleeping Beauty and The Mystery of Irma Vep. Regional: The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Theatre Exile, The Centenary Stage Company, and Arcadia University.

DUDLEY KNIGHT, Voice and Text Coach. Professor Emeritus of Drama at the University of California, Irvine. Founding member of the Long Wharf Theatre.  Stage career: American Conservatory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum, Colorado Shakespeare Festival (six seasons), PSF, Utah Shakespearean Festival and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. He has a 40 year career as voice, speech and dialect teacher and voice director for professional theatre. Editor of A World of Voice, 2011. Board of directors of VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers Association).

GENEVIEVE PERRIER, Annabella, Margaret, and Pamela. She is a two time Barrymore for Excellence in Theater award winner and multiple nominee. She was last seen in Seminar at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. Favorite roles: Kyra in Skylight, Girleen in The Lonesome West and Amanda in Private Lives. She has worked with the Arden, Exile, Headlong, Lantern, Pig Iron, and many others.

MATT PFEIFFER, Director.  PSF: Directing The Complete Works Abridged and Dracula, and appearing in over 15 productions. Serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Theatre Exile in Philadelphia. Other directing credits: Arden Theatre, Two River, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Walnut St. Theatre, and Delaware Theatre Co. Matt’s a seven-time Barrymore nominee and recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award.

MARGUERITE PRICE, Stage Manager, also for Henry VIII. She completed her first season as the Stage Manager at Delaware Theatre Company. She spent 10 seasons as the Production Stage Manager at Act II Playhouse in Ambler, PA. Actors’ Equity Association’s Philadelphia Liaison from May 2005 – January 2007 and Past-Chair of the Stage Managers’ Association.

ANTHONY REIMER, Clown 2. PSF: Much Ado and Cats on a Hot Tin Roof. NY credits: Cactus Flower (NYC Revival), An Ideal Husband (Red Fern Theatre) and three seasons with New York Classical Theatre. Regional: Paper Mill Playhouse, Capital Repertory, Gateway Playhouse, Pensacola and Alabama Shakespeare Festivals. TV/Film: Nurse Jackie, Rescue Me, Chasing Zero, Marvelous Miles and Whisper in the Dark.

SAMINA VIETH, Scenic Designer, also designing for Beauty and The Beast. She is a freelance scenic and props designer working in the Washington DC area. Recent work: Quotidian Theatre: A Walk in the Woods; Anything Goes; American University: 25th Annual Putnam Co. Spelling Bee; Barter Theater: Women Beware Women, Age of Arousal, Wooden Snowflakes; Keegan Theater: Laughter on the 23rd Floor.

THOM WEAVER, Lighting Designer, also designing for The Importance of Being Earnest and Measure for Measure. PSF: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Complete Works. Regional: Wilma, Arden, Azuka, People’s Light, Walnut, Theatre Exile, Curtis Opera, and others. Some other credits: Teller’s Play Dead in Las Vegas and NYC, Children’s Theatre Company, Shakespeare Theatre, Berkshire Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, City Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Yale Rep and others. Awards: 2 Barrymores and 14 nominations, 2-time City Paper’s Best Lighting Design, 3-time Helen Hayes Nominee, and 2007 AUDELCO Award for King Hedley II, Signature Theatre.

LISA ZINNI, Costume Designer, also for The Importance of Being Earnest. Some PSF favorites: Sweeney Todd, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antony and Cleopatra, Amadeus, The Man of La Mancha, My Fair Lady, and The Imaginary Invalid. Recent credits: Titus Andronicus (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre) and Grease (Walnut Street Theatre). Lisa was the Associate Costume Designer for the Broadway, National Tours and International companies for Rent, Hair, and A Christmas Story the Musical. Other credits: Off-Broadway, Roundabout Theatre underground, The Arden Theatre Company, Peoples Light, Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Syracuse Stage, The Cape Playhouse.