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Theatre opens with ‘The 39 Steps’

Marley Bauer and Melanie Mino star in the Scripps Ranch Theatre production of “The 39 Steps.” (photo by Ken Jacques)

Theatre opens with ‘The 39 Steps’

By Ashley Shah

“The 39 Steps” will be the first production of the new season for Scripps Ranch Theatre. 

“‘The 39 Steps’ is a love letter to the mysteries and suspense movies of the ’30s. It is a nostalgic look at the spy stories,” director Phil Johnson said. “It is a Hitchcock movie, but it was adapted into a production where there is an element of comedy alongside the mystery.” 

The production is set in the 1930s, in London.

The main character, Richard Hannay, is played by Marley Bauer. Hannay is an average English man whose life is dull. 

“Richard decides to go out and meets a spy. The spy ends up with a knife in her back. Richard, then goes on a mission to find out what happened,” Johnson said. “Through his journey, he learns that life isn’t good without some adventure in it.”

Melanie Mino plays the female lead.

“Melanie plays the female that Richard falls in love with. She plays the spy that he meets when he goes out and sees the show. She plays a Swedish woman that instills hope in Richard,” Johnson said. 

Chris Braden and Katelyn Slater both play the “clowns.” These actors play about eight or nine characters each. 

“Usually, these two characters are played by two men, but I decided to have a man and a woman. Having this dynamic makes it even more fun. These two characters add a lot of comedy, and they help to move the story along,” Johnson said. 

This production was chosen because of its light-hearted nature. 

“At this time, most people are looking for some laughs. They want to take their mind off of any issues going on, and just feel transported into something else,” Johnson said. 

Casting for this production started in August. 

“It’s a little hard to find actors at this time because people are moving around to different places, or fields. But, I’m happy with the actors we selected. The actors are incredibly talented and perfect fits for their roles,” Johnson said. 

Rehearsals started at the beginning of October. 

“We are having such a riot. It has been so much fun working with the actors. There is a lot of improvisation in the production, so that has added a lot of excitement in our rehearsals,” Johnson said. 

Opening night is Oct. 28. The play will run for four weekends, ending on Nov. 19. 

Johnson expressed his goal for the production. 

“I want to fulfill the audience. I want them to feel better leaving the show than before,” he said. 

Scripps Ranch Theatre productions are performed in the Legler Benbough Theatre on the campus of Alliant International University in Scripps Ranch, 9783 Avenue of Nations. To purchase tickets for this play, visit scrippsranchtheatre.org or call (858) 395-0573.