Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Rooftop Productions A Thurber Carnival

By • Nov 11th, 2008 • Category: Reviews
A Thurber Carnival
Rooftop Productions
Kellar Theater, Manassas, VA
$15/$12 Seniors and Students
Through November 22nd

This is the Showbiz Radio Review of A Thurber Carnival performed by Rooftop Productions in Manassas, Virginia. I saw the performance on opening night Friday, November 7, 2008.

A Thurber Carnival is a revue by James Thurber, adapted by the author from his stories, cartoons and casuals (humorous short pieces), nearly all of which originally appeared in The New Yorker Magazine.

Being a revue, this show did not really have an overall plot. Sometimes the pacing was off, mostly due to some dramatic pauses among the actors. For the most part the characters in each sketch made him or herself unique to that sketch. This enjoyable production is appropriate for the entire family.

For example in the Pet Department sketch, McCall Doyle playing the card girl, who was intent on her task of making the cards appear smoothly while having no real idea what was going on. In a later sketch “Take Me Up Tenderly” the character was more in tune with the world around her, but felt very much like a cheerleader rooting for the struggling artist played by Steven Rice. Deb Crawford seemed to play the angry wife well in the Sketch “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” with Ted Ballard as the wise, but unappreciated, Walter Mitty. One scene that seemed to go a bit too long was “File and Forget” that was performed early in the second act. There were some pacing issues and it seemed to drag.

The set for A Thurber Carnival was simple, composed of a raised platform bordered with flats showing some of Thurber’s cartoons. The cartoons were drawn in black ink with a white background. The Set Designer was the show’s director, Scott Bailey. All of the props including chairs, a dog, and a car were brought on and off the stage fairly quickly and smoothly. The Properties and Set Dressing were done by Heather Plank and Amy Thompson.

The costume style varied with each sketch. Sometimes they were colorful, such as “The World at the Door.” And “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox” the cast wore civil war uniforms, complete with sword. The opening and closing scenes all of the actors were in black and white cocktail attire. It helped set a mood of escapism and enjoyment. The Costume Desiner was Valerie Nelson.

A Thurber Carnival ran two hours and twenty minutes with one intermission. It is playing through November 22, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 at the Keller Theater in Manassas, Virginia.

Once you’ve seen the show, please feel free to leave a comment here on our website at ShowBiz We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with theater events in the DC Region.

And now, on with the show.


  • Mark Yeager
  • Heather Plank
  • Ted Ballard
  • Deb Crawford
  • Steven Rice
  • Dell Prendergrast
  • McCall Doyle
  • Cassandra Newman
  • Scott Bailey
  • Amy Thompson


  • Director: Scott Bailey
  • Stage Manager: Sallie Willows
  • Set Design: Scott Bailey
  • Set Painting: Dawn Parker, Amy Thompson
  • Costume Design: Valerie Nelson
  • Properties/Set Dressing: Heather Plank, Amy Thompson
  • Accompanist: Sandy Bayles
  • Light Design: Scott Bailey
  • Lighting/Sound Board Operator: Sallie Willows
  • Publicity: Anne Ridgeway
  • Graphic Design: Louise Noakes
  • Program: Kim Love
Tagged as:

This article can be linked to as:

started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

3 Responses »

  1. Hi, Laura,
    Thanks for the nice review. Just to let you know, I am the one who has ended up operating the light and sound board. The girl who was supposed to do it, never got back to Scott, and the programs were already printed up. Oh, well. I’ll still add it to my resume. LOL.


  2. […] ShowBizRadio: Review of Rooftop Productions’ A Thurber Carnival […]

  3. Gosh, I do wish this show would get produced in our area … your review caught my eye when I was looking for a cast recording of A Thurber Carnival. It’s one of my favorite shows ever, particularly the song “The Night The Bed Fell”.

    Many (many, many!) years ago I was in the cast for our high school production, and I’ve had a soft spot for it ever since.