Comic Caper 39 Steps Preps for Tour With La Jolla Run Aug. 11-Sept. 13

News   Comic Caper 39 Steps Preps for Tour With La Jolla Run Aug. 11-Sept. 13
The cast of the national tour of the Broadway comedy, The 39 Steps, inspired by the thriller film by Alfred Hitchcock, warms up its muscles starting Aug. 11 in a pre-tour engagement at La Jolla Playhouse in California.

Ted Deasy and Claire Brownell
Ted Deasy and Claire Brownell

The company features Claire Brownell as Annabella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret, Ted Deasy as Richard Hannay, Eric Hissom as Man #1 and Scott Parkinson as Man #2.

Prior to the official launch of the national tour, they will perform the caper at two not-for-profit theatres — La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Directed by Maria Aitken and adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow, based on an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon, and based on the book by John Buchan, The 39 Steps runs through Sept. 13 in LJP's Mandell Weiss Theatre. A run at the not-for-profit Seattle Rep follows (Sept. 25-Oct. 18 in the Bagley Wright Theatre), and then the commercial tour will commence.

The La Jolla opening night is Aug. 16, after previews.

* The Tony and Olivier Award-winning The 39 Steps (still playing on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre) is billed as "a thrilling, fast-paced whodunit packed with nonstop laughs and delightfully inventive staging. Seeking a frivolous night out at the theatre, Richard Hannay is lured into a world of intrigue by a mysterious woman claiming to be a spy. When she winds up dead in his flat, he flees London with the police hot on his trail. The show features a cast of four actors who, against all odds, breathlessly and hilariously attempt to reenact all of the characters, locations and famous scenes in Hitchcock's 1935 film thriller with just a few props and a lot of theatrical ingenuity and split second quick changes."

The production team includes Maria Aitken (director); Peter McKintosh, (scenic/costume designer); Kevin Adams (lighting designer); and Mic Pool (sound designer). Adams and Pool won 2008 Tony Awards for their work on the project. The work was Tony-nominated as Best Play.

Brownell (Annabella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret) comes directly from the Broadway production. Also in New York, Brownell adapted, composed and performed in Dirge (Target Margin Theater). Regional credits include The 39 Steps (Huntington Theater); The Rivals and A Christmas Carol (American Conservatory Theater); Bring Love to My Doorstep and Postcards From Earth (assistant director, Guthrie Lab); Twelfth Night (Montana Shakespeare Company). Originally from Montana, Brownell holds a B.A. from Carroll College and an M.F.A. from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

Deasy (Richard Hannay) has appeared Off-Off Broadway in A Phoenix Too Frequent and The 7th of October. His regional career includes performances at Cincinnati Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Players Theatre, Indiana Rep, Syracuse Stage, GeVa Theatre, Yale Rep, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Rep, Delaware Theatre Company, Theatre Virginia, Two River Theatre, The Old Globe, among others, including four season with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Hissom (Man #1) has appeared in Twelfth Night, Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Man and Superman, Eastern Standard (Asolo Rep); Our Town, Hedda Gabler (Arden Theater Company); Macbeth, Arcadia (Folger Theatre); Eurydice (Milwaukee Rep); Melissa Arctic (Two River Theater Company); Around the World in Eighty Days (Syracuse Stage); The Mystery of Irma Vep (Cape Playhouse); China – The Whole Enchilada (New York Fringe Festival); over 25 productions at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

Parkinson (Man #2) appeared in La Jolla's The Third Story, Broadway's The Coast of Utopia, and as the Stage Manager in David Cromer's acclaimed Our Town, plus Off-Broadway's Orson's Shadow (Barrow Street); The Third Story (MCC); Crime & Punishment (59E59/Writers' Theatre); Queen Margaret in Rose Rage: Henry VI 1, 2, & 3.

Understudy Sheffield Chastain's credits include Broadway's Is He Dead?, White Christmas, Off-Broadway's A Dangerous Personality (Perry Street Theater) and work at Actors Theatre of Louisville, San Jose Rep, Dallas Theatre Center, Berkeley Rep, Capital Repertory Theatre, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Florida Studio Theatre, Eureka Theater Company, Arizona Theatre Company, Los Angeles Theater Center, Sierra Repertory Theater, Shakespeare festivals in Alabama, Nevada, Santa Cruz, Vermont, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe.

Understudy Allison Jean White's credits include The House of Yes (Access Theatre, NYC); Tir na nOg(world premiere), The Crowd You're In With (world premiere, Magic Theatre); Heartbreak House (Berkeley Rep, BATCC nomination); Travesties, The Circle, The Imaginary Invalid, The Real Thing, A Christmas Carol (A.C.T.); Red Light Winter (WHAT).

For tickets to the La Jolla run, call the Playhouse box office at (858) 550-1010 or online at


The nationally-acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is renowned for its tradition of creating the most exciting and adventurous new work in regional theatre. The Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and is considered one of the most well-respected not-for-profit theatres in the country. Numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including Big River, The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Dracula, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jersey Boys, The Farnsworth Invention, Cry-Baby, 33 Variations and Memphis. Located on the UCSD campus, La Jolla Playhouse is made up of three primary performance spaces: the Mandell Weiss Theatre, the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre, and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for La Jolla Playhouse, a theatre complex which features the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre.

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