‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ Comedy Fueled by Great Chemistry

(L to R) Carol Delisle, Dave Gross, Karen Winokur and Ray Essick star in “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” opening on the Arts Barn stage Friday, July 5. Photo | Scott D’Vileskis

(L to R) Carol Delisle, Dave Gross, Karen Winokur and Ray Essick star in “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” opening on the Arts Barn stage Friday, July 5.
Photo | Scott D’Vileskis

Leads Dave Gross, Carol Delisle, Karen Winokur and Ray Essick bring great chemistry to their title roles as “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” Christopher Durang’s Tony award-winning play opening on the Arts Barn stage Friday, July 5.

“It’s a delightful cast to work with,” said Director Bruce Hirsch. “They are creative and imaginative and feed off each other’s creativity.”

Produced by the Sandy Spring Theatre Group in partnership with Arts on the Green, the play is a “wickedly wonderful Chekhovian mashup. Vanya and Sonia’s quiet, bucolic life is hilariously upended when their glamorous movie star sister arrives for the weekend with her brawny boy toy in tow,” according to the Arts on the Green website. When the show originally opened in 2012, a New York Times review called it “a sunny play about gloomy people.”

“There was great chemistry from the get-go,” Hirsch said of the cast. “The cast includes Dave Gross as Vanya, Carol Delisle as Sonia, Karen Winokur as Masha, and Ray Essick as Spike in the title roles. Jenny Gleason takes on the role of Cassandra, and Alex Guyker is Nina.”

Hirsch has been directing plays in the area for more than 40 years, and he can’t wait for local audiences to take in this most recent production.

“It’s a wonderfully written play. The funny comes out of how the characters behave and how they react to each other. I can’t wait to see how the audience reacts,” he said.

Because there is almost always a play in production on the Arts Barn stage, the cast of “Vanya and Sonia” spent their first few weeks rehearsing in the Arts Barn gallery—and then another three on the stage. The week before opening night, sets and furniture were moved in, Hirsch said, and the cast and crew worked on polishing the production, adjusting timing and getting used to the presence of objects on the stage.

The Sandy Spring Theatre Group was founded in 1949 as a fundraising endeavor for the Sherwood High School PTA, and it has grown into an award-winning troupe. For years, productions were held in schools and churches, but since 2004 Sandy Spring Theatre Group has called the Arts Barn home.

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” runs July 5-20. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m., but there is no evening performance on July 13. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at www.ticketfly.com/event/1858020-vanya-sonya-masha-spike-gaithersburg.

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