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39 Steps to a Laugh Riot

By Lola Smith

For its 130th production since 1982, Players Workshop (PW) has chosen the Broadway and West End smash comedy hit, The 39 Steps, which opens next Thursday, September 1 at the San Miguel Playhouse. Based on both the novel by John Buchan and the iconic film by Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps uses the light comedy in the classic film to explode into farce and burlesque. Though the play follows the movie scene by scene and uses much of the film’s dialog, what transpires in the hands of four actors playing more than 100 characters, as they fly to high comic realms, turns the standard light comedy/suspense into a veritable laugh riot.

The 39 Steps
With Players Workshop
September 1–11
Thu–Sat, Sep 1–3, and Thu–Sat, Sep 8–10, 7:30pm
Matinees Sun, Sep 4 and 11, 3pm
USD$12 online, 200 pesos at box office

The cast assembled for the show is stellar and includes local favorite Michael Gottlieb, last seen as Mark Rothko in the acclaimed PW production of the Tony Award-winning RED two years ago. He plays the “hero” Richard Hannay, a wealthy man who has wasted the better part of his life on shallow pursuits, and who stumbles onto a high-stakes game of foreign espionage and double cross. Clara Dunham, known locally for both acting and singing, and most recently seen as Sonia in the PW production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, plays Hannay’s three love interests who help and thwart him throughout the show.

The other two characters in the show are designated Clown #1 and Clown #2 for a very good reason. The two clowns run through a dizzying array of characters and situations, playing scores of roles between them. Rounding out the cast in these critical roles are Don Krim and David Galitzky. Mr. Krim, an international performing artist and renowned counter-tenor with a rich theatrical background, is a new addition to San Miguel and already one of the busiest performers in SMA. Mr. Galitzky is one of the most sought after actors here, most remembered for his outstanding performance in the Stray Dog production of Other Desert Cities.

Wrangling this huge and complicated production to the stage is director Ken Albanese, whose many years’ experience in acting and directing assure the show is in good hands. A former member of Canadian Actors’ Equity, he has also been a popular adjudicator and workshop leader. His directing credits include such shows as Elephant Man, Wings, Talley’s Folly, Doc, Crimes of the Heart, Death and the Maiden, and Deathtrap.

The New York Times raved of the Broadway production: “Theater at its finest! … Absurdly enjoyable! This gleefully theatrical riff on Hitchcock’s film is fast and frothy, performed by a cast of four that seems like a cast of thousands.”

Players Workshop is known for quality theater, and this is going to be one of our best. Get your tickets now online at


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