Written by Kat Petty, Class of 2024

Alfred Hitchcock’s sensational spy thriller comedy, The 39 Steps, is coming January 25 – 27 to the Mount Vernon Black Box Theater!! The show is this year’s senior theatre project and is entirely run by senior theatre students, who are acting, directing, and marketing the production.

The 39 Steps follows ordinary man, Richard Hannay, as he is thrust into a world of mysterious organizations and danger after meeting a mysterious woman who claims to be a spy. Set in the interwar period in Europe (1918 – 1939), Richard Hannay must evade the police, who are hunting him for false charges of murder, as he travels across the UK in search of answers and a way to clear his name. He must work with unwitting accomplice, Pamela, in order to stop a mysterious villain from sending crucial secrets out of the country. The show blends comedy with thrills and action, and features countless laughs, romance, and over 100 zany characters, played by a tremendously talented four-person cast!

The show is directed by Addie Vogt and Natalie Fiacco, with Miller Woodall as the stage manager. All three are also acting in the production. William Nix stars as Richard Hannay; and Natalie Fiacco shines as love interests Pamela, Margaret, and Annabella Shmidt. Miller Woodall and Addie Vogt showcase their incredible versatility as the clowns, who morph from character to character at lightning speed, each acting as nearly forty characters apiece throughout the performance! “Being a clown has been crazy, playing so many characters so fast,” said Addie, who is Co-director as well as Clown #1. “I have done my share of ensemble work before, but this is totally on another level!” Also involved with the production are Juniors: Kat Petty, Piper Hendryx, Alyssa Gershon-Palma, and Freshman Caleb Campbell, all Assistant Stage Managers; Junior Henry Houghton, who runs sound design, and the phenomenal Sophomore Caroline Putnam, who does lighting.

Every part of the show process was run by the seniors, and every decision was made with their fantastic creativity and direction. “Every piece of the show was intentional, from the blocking to the set design,” said William Nix, in the process of directing a show. “We wanted to create the best possible experience for our audience, and the funniest and most thrilling show for all the friends and family and audience who came to see it.” Addie Vogt cited what a unique experience directing the show has been: “This show is pretty unlike anything I’ve done before since I’m directing it, which was kind of nerve-wracking but super fun.” Natalie Fiacco expressed a similar experience, saying “Directing is something I haven’t done before, and initially, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it because of the pressure. However, once I got into it and started staging, I realized it was really fun! It’s been cool to explore a new, different side of theatre that’s not acting or tech.”

Bringing a student-run show to life has been both a tremendous learning experience and a wonderful bonding experience for all the cast and crew of the show. “It’s been really wonderful to work with this group of people I’ve been doing theatre with for so long, from the actors to our wonderful ASMs [Assistant Stage Managers]. Bringing our own show to life has been super fun,” said Addie. Miller agreed, saying “My favorite part has been the rehearsals, because all my friends are in the show or helping with the show, so it’s been super fun to just hang out while also being productive.” William also named getting to collaborate with the other cast members as his favorite part of the show: “Throughout the production process, it’s been awesome to see everyone’s strengths and contributions come together to create a super strong, super fun show,” he said. “My favorite part has been getting to see everyone shine.”

The seniors’ tremendous hard work is paying off, and The 39 Steps will be performed in the Upper School black box on January 25 – 27. It’s a show that, according to the cast, is “exhilarating,” “funny, classic, unique, and widely accessible,” “a completely crazy menagerie of people, places, and murders,” and “buckets of characters, buckets of fun!” It’s thrilling, romantic, comedic, and outrageously fun— don’t miss The 39 Steps!

Reserve your tickets today!

Article Written by Kat Petty, Class of 2024. Want to explore more of Kat’s work? Check out Celebrating Student-Published Written Work.