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Four Actors Create 150 Zany Characters in the Freewheeling, Fast and Funny "The 39 Steps"

Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:45:00 PM

Weathervane Playhouse’s 78th season continues with The 39 Steps, the freewheeling and fast-moving spy caper/whodunit/mystery/comedy!

Directed by Marc Moritz, The 39 Steps plays on Weathervane Playhouse’s Founders Theater stage from May 2 to 19, 2013.

What do you get when you mix an Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, and then toss in a dash of Monty Python-like theatrical antics? It’s The 39 Steps — a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theater!

Packed with non-stop laughs, three men and one woman play more than 150 zany characters, who together endure an on-stage plane crash, fight with handcuffs, deal with missing fingers and create some good old-fashioned romance!

In The 39 Steps, a man with a boring life meets a woman with a thick accent who says she's a spy. When he takes her home, she is murdered. Soon, a mysterious organization called "The 39 Steps" is hot on the man's trail in a cross-country manhunt that climaxes in a death-defying finale!

A riotous blend of virtuoso performances and wildly inventive stagecraft, The 39 Steps amounts to an unforgettable experience of pure pleasure!

► CLICK HERE for performance dates and times and for ticket information.



BRIDGET CHEBO — Annabella Schmidt/Margaret/Pamela




MARC MORITZ — Director

JERRY MIRMAN — Stage Manager


MICHAEL CRANSTON and MICHAEL JAMES — Properties Co-Designers

JASEN J. SMITH — Costume Designer

ALAN SCOTT FERRALL — Scenic/Lighting Designer and Technical Director

KATHY KOHL — Assistant Technical Director


MARC MORITZ is thrilled to return to Weathervane Playhouse for this production of The 39 Steps. His Weathervane Playhouse directing credits include 3 Guys Naked From the Waist Down and Shine with Hal Linden. Elsewhere, his other directing credits include A Raisin in the Sun at True North Theatre and The Walworth FarceGuttenberg! The Musical! and Tigers Be Still at Dobama Theatre. He directed the very successful A Broadway Christmas Carol last season at Clague Playhouse in Westlake, where he will be remounting it again in November. He will also be directing a staged concert reading of Merrily We Roll Along for Blank Canvas Theatre in Cleveland as well as a production of Frankie and Johnnie in the Clair De Lune at Blank Canvas. As an actor, Marc originated the role of Talk Show Host in the Broadway production of the Stephen Sondheim/Hal Prince musical, Merrily We Roll Along. This summer, he will be appearing as Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank and Sydney Black in Light Up the Sky at Oberlin Summer Theatre Festival. More recently Marc appeared as Al Lewis in The Sunshine Boys at Porthouse Theatre. His other regional acting work includes the Great Lakes Theater Festival/Idaho Shakespeare Festival co-production of Into the Woods. His favorite roles include Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors, Tateh in Ragtime, The Cat in the Hat in Seussical, Chico in Cocoanuts, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Ezekial Cheever in The Crucible and Emperor Joseph in Amadeus. He has been affiliated with such theaters as Great Lakes Theater Festival, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Riverside Shakespeare, Cleveland Play House, Long Wharf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, New Harmony Theatre and Dobama Theatre. Marc was the Founder/Artistic Director of Cleveland’s popular Giant Portions Improv Co. and has taught and performed with ImprovOlympic and Second City in Chicago and New York City. This December, he will be diving into the world of cabaret with his own show entitled Marc Moritz: Sober for the Holidays — A Recovering Jew at Christmas for Broadview Heights Spotlights Theatre. Marc was in the Returning Professional Acting program at Kent State University and received his M.F.A. degree in Spring 2012. He is grateful for his two beautiful children, 9-year-old Joseph and 13-year–old Sarah.


Although The 39 Steps uses key plot points and characters from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film of the same name, this stage adaptation is definitely a more satirical “send up” of the story (ala Monty Python) and also incorporates characters from (and references to) such other Hitchcock films as North by Northwest, Dial M for Murder, Psycho, Vertigo and The Birds.

The play’s original concept as developed by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon was for two actors to play all the parts. Playwright Patrick Barlow then tweaked that concept for four people, and the four-person version was first presented in 2005 at the West Yorkshire (England) Playhouse. About a year later, the production opened in London. The 39 Steps premiered on Broadway in 2008 and ran for two years before transferring to an off-Broadway theater, where it ran for another nine months before closing in January of 2011. Since then, the show has been one of the most consistently popular titles produced by both regional theaters and community groups across America.


PATRICK BARLOW, born in 1947, is an English actor, comedian and playwright. In his native England, he is best known as one half of a comic duo known as The National Theatre of Brent, which since 1980 has produced nearly two dozen shows that have been produced for the stage, recorded for radio and filmed for television. Designed as a mock theatrical troupe, Barlow’s role in The National Theatre of Brent is to play Desmond Olivier Dingle, the troupe's founder, artistic director and chief executive. Over the years, several actors have filled the role of Dingle’s assistant – a man whom Dingle has always taken great pleasure in referring to as “my entire company.” The company’s 1998 production Love Upon the Throne (featuring Barlow as Prince Charles and John Ramm as Diana, Princess of Wales) was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Comedy. Outside of his National Theatre of Brent productions, Barlow has also played several bit parts in films, including Shakespeare in Love (as Will Kempe), Notting Hill (as the Savoy Concierge), Bridget Jones’s Diary (as Julian) and Nanny McPhee (as Mr. Jowls).

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