Producing theater company Flashback Theater Co. (FbTC) invites you on the adventure of a lifetime with The 39 Steps adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan; the source material for Alfred Hitchcok’s iconic 1935 british spy thriller of the same name. However, this adaptation is not your grandmother’s 39 Steps; taking inspiration from the comedy stylings of acts like Monty Python and Mel Brooks, four actors, under the direction of the fabulous local artist Jade Ellis, will take on over 150 characters to give you a theatrical experience like no other! Featuring action, adventure, an onstage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers…and some good old-fashioned romance! A winner of two Tony awards as well as a Drama Desk Award, The 39 Steps will run Dec. 7-17 at the Flashback Theater Co. Black Box Theater.

Jade Ellis, a Flashback mainstay and owner of popular local boutique A Bazaar Universe, discusses her approach to comedy, “(I’m approaching it) From every direction and dimension I can.” She adds that she was drawn to the show for its contrast to the production of A Miracle on 34th Street she directed last December: “I wanted to do something fun. I wanted to do something with a small cast. I wanted to do something that involves a lot of creativity for everyone involved in the process. I love the opportunities for creativity that the show provides and I love laughing while I’m working and working while I’m laughing.” Those who know Jade are familiar with the artists unique style, which audiences can look forward to seeing live on stage: “my touch is so unique and my styles are so personally mine, when I put my heart into something, that work is going to be so infused with both, that’s just how it works. “

Jade Ellis (Director) directs her fifth mainstage show after the success of Miracle on 34th Street, The Mousetrap, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead!, and Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. Prior to directing Ellis had appeared on FbTC and SCC stages for many years. 

Beginning in a London Theatre, The 39 Steps follows Richard Hannay (Brian Herrmann), who finds himself suddenly thrust into the position of a convicted murderer after he takes in a spy in the midst of a conspiracy. With her dying breath, Annabelle (Jenny Denney, who also plays Pamela and Margaret) warns Hannay that he must take to Scotland to stop a secret organization, known as The 39 Steps, before it’s too late. With nowhere to turn and in bad need of an alibi, Hannay takes off on a national tour to solve the mystery, prove his innocence, escape the clutches of The 39 Steps, and get the girl! 

Brian Herrmann (Richard Hannay)
One summer and one job later, Brian is eager to return to the stage! As a fan of both Monty Python and Mel Brooks, he hopes you’ll enjoy The 39 Steps as much as he does.  Previous Flashback appearances include The American Parade and As You Like It.

Jenny Denney (Annabelle/Pamela/Margaret)
Jenny is the director of choir and theater at Southwestern High School. She made her FbTC debut in the spring of 2022, playing Clopas in Mary: Her Story. Most recently, she performed in Flashback’s Fall Fringe Show The Thin Place (Hilda), and last spring’s musical production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Johanna). She is thrilled to be on stage in several productions this current season.

Along Hannay’s journey, he encounters zany local characters and mystery men, played by two enigmatic clowns: Billy Christopher Maupin and Kailyn Ball. These actors will stun you with their preternatural ability to shapeshift before your very eyes…from postmen to policemen to milkmen to international supervillains and everything else in between. As well as having the acting chops to take on a dizzying array of characters, these actors have unparalleled comedic prowess!

Billy Christopher Maupin (Clown #1)
Previous work with FbTC: Sweeney Todd, The Mousetrap, All Together Now! Directing Credits: The Children’s Hour (Tabby Award), Becky’s New Car, Carrie the Musical (RTCC Award), Becky’s New Car. Acting Credits: Much Ado… (Don John), Dracula (Dr. Seward), Smoke on the Mountain (Rev. Oglethorpe). Associate Artist, Carpenter Science Theatre Company. Co-founder and Associate Artistic Director Emeritus, 5th Wall Theatre

Kailyn Ball (Clown #2)
Kailyn is a student at Southwestern High School where she enjoys being a part of the theater department. She played in the high school’s production of All the Boys Love Mary. This will be her first season with Flashback Theater Company. She is excited to be on the stage with several Flashback regulars including her theater teacher, Jenny Denney.

Behind the scenes of this fabulous production is a top-notch team of creatives. Those who have attended multiple productions in Flashback’s Black Box know that the setup of the space varies and no two shows are exactly alike; the space will transform to meet the needs of the production. Creating the unique atmosphere of this production is master craftsman Ian Zajkowski, whose work might be familiar if you enjoyed any of the unique effects featured in the Annual Haunted House at ABA-LLC. Renate Dopp, a resident ensemble member at Flashback, will stage manage the production, keeping everything running smoothly. Dopp will also serve as a sound designer, creating the unique soundscape that will transport the audience. Also on the stage management team are two Assistant Stage Managers: Mahayla Mounce, who will also work on the production’s props, and Sloan Smith.

Renate Dopp (Stage Manager/Sound Design)
Renate is excited to celebrate her 8th season with Flashback!  Favorite FbTC stage management highlights: Sweeney Todd, The Dollmaker, The Mousetrap, Every Christmas Story Ever Told….And Then Some! (2016 and 2021), Pirates of Penzance, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.  Previous FBTC performances include Mary: Her Story, Little Shop of Horrors and season announcement cabarets, among many others!

Ian Zajkowski (Set Design)
Ian Zajkowski comes from the vibrant maker community and always strives to blend creativity with technical expertise. His focus is on transforming ordinary spaces into extraordinary experiences with the goal of having his work to being a testament to the power of design.

Mahayla Mounce (Assistant Stage Manager)
Mahayla Mounce is a newcomer to Flashback, with The 39 Steps being her first production. Despite this, she has experience in theater and a passionate love for all of the arts. As an artist and performer, Mahayla is thrilled to work on a fun and creative show like The 39 Steps.

While you may have seen Hitchcock’s film or read Buchan’s original novel, you certainly have never seen The 39 Steps like this before. This uber-theatrical piece is not just a love letter to the source material, but a celebration of the transformative power of the stage. The medium of theater offers unparalleled opportunities to experience the adrenaline and magic of this classic mystery. Just in time for the holiday season, The 39 Steps is a joyous theatrical romp that you don’t want to miss. 

Production Information

The 39 Steps
December 7-17, 2023
Black Box Theater
Adapted by Patrick Barlow from
The Novel by John Buchan
Directed by Jade Ellis

Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre! This two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning treat is packed with nonstop laughs, over 150 zany characters (played by a ridiculously talented cast of four), an onstage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance!

Performance Dates and Times

Thursday, December 7th at 7:30PM
Friday, December 8th at 7:30PM
Sunday, December 10th at 2:30PM
Friday, December 15th at 7:30PM
Saturday, December 16th at 7:30PM
Sunday, December 17th at 2:30PM

Ticket Information

Tickets can be purchased online at: or by calling the box office at (888) 394-3282, ext. 1. Box office hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

Season ticket holders will be contacted in the first week of ticket sales for each show to confirm the desired date of attendance. Seating will be assigned at the time of each show’s reservation. Tickets for each production will be sent via email. Season tickets are $85 and include a seat at each of the season’s five productions.

Single ticket pricing for the 10th Season of Flashback productions will be:
Adults – $23 Advance, $25 Door
Students – $12 Advance, $15 Door
Seniors – $20 Advance and Door

Season Sponsors & Supporters

Flashback Theater is grateful to our 2023-24 Spotlight Sponsors: Applied Behavioral Advancements, M&W Printing, The Shubert Foundation, The City of Somerset, David Daring Rentals, and Fenix Digital; as well as our Footlight Sponsors: Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital & Lake Cumberland Residency Programs, First & Farmer’s National Bank, The Weigel Family, United Cumberland Bank, T. Ronald Kidd Trust, Kinetic by Windstream, Somerset Community College, Toyotetsu America, Inc. (TTAI), Brad Bigelow of Century 21 Advantage Realty, and Buffalo Wings & Rings.

The 39 Steps  is presented with support from the show’s title sponsor: Cumberland Lake Shell. Additional support is provided by Artist Sponsors DC Trimble General Contractors, Citizens Bank, and Faith Healthcare, as well as Design Sponsor Phoenix Preferred Care.