The 39 Steps: a gem of a show!

With a new stage and pure excitement for the return of traditional theater performances, the Colorado Academy Upper School play, The 39 Steps, directed by Maclain Looper, was everything but traditional. The sophisticated and witty performances by Seniors Christian Barnard, Lee Kenney, Casey Myers, Abigail Shapiro, and Morgan Taylor were nothing short of brilliant. The ensemble of talented actors also featured Juniors Naomi Gillis, Avery Goldstein, Clare Henry, Sofie Henry, J.T. Timmers, and Sasha Yuffa; Sophomores Maya Green, Alaina Wharton, and Jessica Zinn; and Freshman Gianna Lish.

One of the most magical aspects of this performance was the character changes each actor employed. Aside from the character of Richard Hannay, played by Christian Barnard, every actor played the role of two or more people, referred to in this instance as “clowns.” The actors shifted character and gender from scene to scene, and sometimes in an instant, within the same scene. The facility of these transformations was a testament to the skill of these young actors. Their accents and humorous delivery of this whodunnit murder mystery brought well-deserved non-stop laughs and chuckles from the audience.

The actors stole the show, followed closely by their impressive minimalist set and clever use of props. The highlights for the audience were when Richard Hannay was chased by the police. The actors scaled a moving train, with multiple high-action entrances and exits, via a “window” (an empty picture frame) and a framed door on wheels that moved about the stage.

The creative and technical teams also deserve recognition. Senior Stage Managers Braden Fitzpatrick and JJ Moore ran a professional show. Technical Director James Meehan has mastered the new light and sound systems of the Leach Center for the Performing Arts in a short amount of time. Sophomore Grant Kenney assisted with the lighting, as did Seniors Grace Trembath and Adie Williams. Theater Department Chair Stephen Scherer designed the set and led the technical theater students in its construction. Director Maclain Looper pulled all aspects of this show together in an impressive way.

You know that a show has hit every mark when, as a member of the audience, you don’t want the show to end. Our CA actors and their support crews delivered a playful, animated, and hilarious show. What a perfect way to end 2021!