Submitted photo
Inspecting Carol,” a lampoon of the beloved holiday staple, “A Christmas Carol,” is the Desert Foothills Theater’s latest production. The show, which debuted Dec. 10 has tickets remaining for its final three performances, 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and both 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. All shows are at the Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center. Proceeds benefit the Desert Foothills Community Education “Artists in Residency” programs.


Spoof of Christmas Carol raises fund for North Valley youth programs


Crowds at the Black Box Theater at Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center are being introduced to a Scrooge and a Tiny Tim unlike they’ve ever seen before.
Desert Foothills Theater’s production of “Inspecting Carol,” is the story of a financially teetering theater company preparing to perform their crown jewel “A Christmas Carol”.
Only the crown jewel might not be such a gem under
further inspection.
With an unstable artistic director, a leading actor who wants to perform the entire role of Scrooge in Spanish, a kid who has played Tiny Tim so long that Bob Cratchit can’t lift him anymore, a militant black actor an assortment of eccentric players asked to play a white ghost, the theater troupe finds itself entangled in a mounting series of disasters.
“I saw the show in Pittsburgh several years ago and I thought it was perhaps the funniest I had ever seen,” Meribeth Reeves, Desert Foothills Theater Managing Director said. “We have an amazing cast of veteran actors with a lot of experience. They’re a very
creative, talented bunch.”
Lead actress Heidi Carpenter plays the director of the theater in the play. She said the early reviews from the first weekend were positive.
“We had great audiences,” she said. “There was a meet and greet after each show where the audience and cast get to talk. If the audience uses the word fun a lot that’s always a good sign. If they say the show is good, that’s nice, but when they say they had fun you can tell they felt like they were a part of something.”
Carpenter, a Scottsdale resident who moved to the Valley less than 3 years ago, said she had heard good things about Desert Foothills Theater from a friend and was excited to be a part of “Inspecting Carol.”
“I love Christmas themed stuff,” she said. “I’ve done A Christmas Carol twice so this seemed like a great role, a great opportunity. My character owns the theater and it’s her whole life. She finds out she may need to come up with more funding for the theater. She’s trying to hold things together when it seems like everything is crashing down around her. It’s really the biggest moment of her whole life.”
Along with a flawed cast, a lack of time to rehearse and the pressure to do well financially, a case of mistaken identity also combines to weigh against the theater’s efforts.
“Things just snowball,” Carpenter said. “It gets crazier and crazier.”
Carpenter said that the 11-person cast brings out the best in each other.
“Our director really did a great job putting this bunch together,” she said. “We only had five weeks to rehearse, but there’s a good chemistry. We’re lucky. This show has a lot of physical comedy and the timing has been really good with everybody.”
Tickets are available for the remaining three shows, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, along with 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. performances on Sunday.
The Black Box Theater at Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center is located at 33606 North 60th Street, North Scottsdale (½ mile south of Carefree Highway). Tickets are $20 for adults; and $15 for students. For tickets and information, visit or call 480-488-1981.
A percentage of the proceeds will benefit the Desert Foothills Community Education for ‘Artist in Residency’ programs. DFCE offers programs, year-round, for students and adults, with unique performing arts opportunities during the summer.