Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Sandy Spring Theatre Group Inspecting Carol

By • Nov 10th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Inspecting Carol by Daniel Sullivan
Sandy Spring Theatre Group
Asbury Methodist Village Rosborough Center, Gaithersburg, MD
Through November 20th
2:00 with one intermission
Reviewed November 6th, 2011

Inspecting Carol is a two act comedy by Daniel Sullivan. A struggling theater group is about to close their doors when another actor comes in to audition. The group mistakenly thinks he is from the National Endowment For the Arts and bends over backwards to please him hoping that the struggling troupe will be given a grant and be able to continue acting. Mayhem ensues when the real NEA inspector shows up and is given a hasty performance of the classic play A Christmas Carol.

Unfortunately this production was not able to live up to the hilarity that was described in the playbill. The setup of the situation in the early portions of the show went well enough, with nice development of the characters and their histories. But as the “show within a show” started, it seemed that the actors weren’t quite as ready to sell to the audience that a disaster was taking place. Lines were rushed and stumbled over. Some actors were not loud enough or clear enough to be understood. In this type of farce it is somewhat difficult to distinguish which things were supposed to be badly executed and which was just bad execution. The cast seemed to try to force the laughs and this, too, just did not sustain the action. The characters often seemed to stand in straight lines. And at several points, characters would sit in the audience seating near the front of the house, making it difficult to hear the actors and to see their faces.

The set was made up of a series of flats representing an office or backstage area. Unfortunately, the flats weren’t changed during the performance of A Christmas Carol, which led to a bit of confusion. Were they acting in their rehearsal space, or on the stage? The lighting was also interesting. In the second act, two of the characters, M.J. and Larrry (Veronica Lee Johnston and Dino Coppa) came downstage and did their scene basically in the dark, which detracted from the action going on upstage. The problems during A Christmas Carol were fine, but the “problems” carried over into the “backstage” and “post-show” performances.

One of the lines from Inspecting Carol that seems relevant now was “You don’t kill yourself over a review.” There was potential for some real comedic moments in this play that never were able to develop. Was more rehearsal needed? Did Sandy Spring run into unexpected challenges in performing at the Rosborough Center for the first time? Did SSTG simply bite off too large a challenge with this production? Or maybe the Sunday performance we attended was the final performance after a long week (tech week and opening performances) and the cast and crew were exhausted? Regardless, this production was disappointing.


  • M.J. (Mary Jane) McCann: Veronica Lee Johnston
  • Wayne Wellacre: Ken Kemp
  • Zorah Bloch: BJ Bergman Angstadt
  • Luther Beatty: Matthew Tobin
  • Dorothy Tree-Hapgood: Judy Mayer
  • Sidney Carlton: Bill Spitz
  • Phil Hewlit: Bruce Hirsch
  • Walter E. Parsons: Will Ayers
  • Colleen Emery: Susan Aaron Ostrinsky
  • Larry Vauxhall: Dino Coppa
  • Betty Andrews: Stacey Fearheiley, Mara Bayewitz

Production Staff

  • Co-Producers: Mara Bayewitz, Brian “BC” Campbell
  • Director: Frank DeSando
  • Stage Manager: Brian “BC” Campbell
  • Scenic Design: Dave Kaysen
  • Master Carpenter: Dave Kaysen
  • Construction/Painting Crew: Dave Kaysen, Ed Eggleston, Brian Campbell, Tony Pisarra, Trish Weiler, Veronica Johnston, Bruce Angstadt, Joe Connor, Bruce Hirsch
  • Props Master: Andrea Kibbe
  • Lighting Design: Ed Eggleston
  • Lighting Execution: Ed Eggleston, Joe Connor
  • Sound Design: Patrick Hughes
  • Sound Execution: Patrick Hughes/Mike Urciolo
  • Costume Design: Sandy Eggleston
  • Stag Crew: Bruce Angstadt, Xavier Ayers
  • Makeup/ Hair Design: Cast
  • Program Design: Carl Yonder (
  • Box Office: Mike Urciolo
  • Load-in/Load-out Crew: Tony Pisarra, Trish Weiler, Cast, Production Staff, Stage Crew

Disclaimer: Sandy Spring Theatre Group provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

Tagged as: , ,

This article can be linked to as:

One Response »

  1. “The set was made up of a series of flats representing an office or backstage area. Unfortunately, the flats weren’t changed during the performance of A Christmas Carol, which led to a bit of confusion.” – Actually, the reviewer was the one confused. The entire play took place on the set of the play “The Christmas Carol” that the group in the play was performing. There was no “backstage” or “office.” I’ve spoken to several people who had no confusion about this.