Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Office of News & Public Affairs

'The 39 Steps' at BC's Robsham Theater

award-winning adaptation of hitchcock classic opens october 17


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (October 2013)  – The Boston College Theatre Department kicks off the 2013-2014 season with its production of Patrick Barlow’s raucous comedy The 39 Steps. Directed by Theatre Department faculty member Luke Jorgensen, the production will be presented on the mainstage of the Robsham Theater Arts Center from October 17-20.

A direct stage adaptation of the famous Alfred Hitchcock film, The 39 Steps is a zany and fast-paced spy novel come to life. Set in the 1930s, Richard Hannay encounters a mysterious and intriguing woman named Annabella. When a murder occurs, Richard finds himself in the middle of a spy-hunting thrill ride, chased by a group called “The 39 Steps” and encountering an array of characters. The story unfolds in a whirlwind of comedy, all while paying homage to Alfred Hitchcock as “the Master of Suspense.”

“I’m so intrigued by this play,” says Jorgensen. “It requires the actors to play dozens of different roles, with mere moments to change character. I thought this presented an unbelievable and exciting challenge that I think the audience will just eat up.”

First published as a 1915 novel by John Buchan, The 39 Steps gained worldwide acclaim when Hitchcock adapted it into a film in 1935. English actor and playwright Patrick Barlow rewrote a 2005 stage version into a tour-de-force adaptation in which four actors play dozens of roles, to great comic effect.

It went on to win the Laurence Olivier Award for “Best New Comedy” in 2007, along with two Tony and Drama Desk Awards for the Roundabout Theatre's Broadway production in 2008. In May of 2009 it played its 500th performance, making it Broadway’s longest running comedy in history.  The play has since been produced all over the world. 

The cast of  Jorgensen's production expands to five actors:  Joe Meade ’15 as Richard Hannay; Tory Berner ’14 as Annabella/Pamela; Tom Mezger ’14, Jake Alexander ’14, and Ceara O’Sullivan ’14 as a trio of “clowns” will be called upon to play more than 100 different characters (and a few inanimate objects).  Live, on-stage sound effects will be performed by Matt Good ’14; Julian Maggard ’17 and Scott Jean ’14 will help keep the action going as a pair of onstage movers.

Also on the  BC  production team are Theatre Department faculty members Crystal Tiala as scenic designer, Jackie Dalley as costume designer, and Scott Clyve as lighting designer. David Wilson is the guest-artist sound designer and Sarah Krantz ’15 is stage manager.

The production opens Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. and runs through a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, October 20, 2013 in the Robsham Theater Arts Center (RTAC). Tickets are $15 and $10 for students, seniors, and BC faculty and staff. Tickets are available online at, through the RTAC Box Office, or by calling 617-552-4002. For more information visit

Boston College Office of News & Public Affairs