SMITHFIELD – Just when the final notes and laughs are fading from the completed 2024 seasons of the Lyric Repertory Company and the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre in early August, the Four Seasons Theatre Company here will step into that entertainment void with the premier of The 39 Steps.

That play – slated for Aug. 1 to 10 – will be a departure for the Four Seasons troupe and a challenge for its performers, according to director Ron Rash.

Adapted from a 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 film by master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps is a comedic parody of those earlier versions of the classic spy mystery.

That theater company has built its stellar reputation on staging large cast musicals, but The 39 Steps will be the Four Seasons’ first-ever non-musical production.

The challenge for its actors – all four of them – will be to portray the more than 150 individuals in the 1935 Hitchcock film with rapid-fire changes of costume and characterization.

That’s a tall order, but Rash has assembled a cast with enough talent that they are probably looking forward to that challenge.

Newcomer Sam Peterson has got the easy role; all he has to do play protagonist Richard Hannay, the innocent bystander who get mixed up in a game of spies, along with playing straight man for his fellow actors.

The play’s lone actress, Celeste Baillio, will portray the three women with whom Hannay  has romantic entanglements as the play progresses.

The multi-talented Ms. Baillio has a list of stage credits as long as your arm, from a drunken Mrs. Hannnigan in Annie to the soul-switched bride-to-be in the Disney musical Freaky Friday.

She can do it all – sing, dance and has a tremendous gift for physical humor. Playing three different women in a straight comedy should be a walk in the park for Ms. Baillio.

All of the rest of the play’s characters – scores of them — will be played by just two additional actors who will occasionally play multiple roles simultaneously.

Filling those multitude of roles will be Clifton Richards (a veteran of the Music Theatre West production of Forever Plaid in 2020 and Four Seasons’ productions of The Wizard of Oz, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins and Tuck Everlasting) and Kyle Cottam  (seen previously in the MTW production of Ragtime as well as The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella by the Four Seasons troupe).

Rash promises that The 39 Steps will be a fast-paced whodunit that will charm local audiences.

The only thing missing will be one of those sneaky cameo appearances by Hitchcock himself.

Tickets for The 39 Steps are schedule to go on sale Thursday, June 20 at www.fourseasonstheatre.org

All performances of The 39 Steps will be staged at Sky View High School in Smithfield.

Sky View High School is located at 520 South, 250 East in Smithfield.



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