Comedy and Mystery in store on Sterling College stage

3 actors rehearsing play, middle one holding a book while other two look at him
Thursday, February 22, 2024

What do you get when you mix Sherlock Holmes with over 40 broad, outlandish comic characters -playwright Ken Ludwig’s unique comedy mystery hybrid Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. The show will be presented by Sterling College Theatre on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday February 29, March 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Culbertson Auditorium on the Sterling College campus. 

Baskerville has been called “a pure theatrical delight from start to finish.” The comedy-mystery from award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and provides nonstop action, laughs, and thrills on every level.

When world-famous detective Sherlock Holmes is called upon to investigate the suspicious death of Sir Charles Baskerville, he and his trusty sidekick Doctor Watson embark on a devilish, nonstop wild ride to solve the case of their careers. Haunted by the local legend of a giant spectral hound, the two men must keep their eyes peeled, ears open, and wits about them as they uncover the secrets of Baskerville Hall.

Senior Bryson Brownlee, Sterling, will portray the world’s best-loved detective Sherlock Holmes in the Sterling College Theatre production. His ever-loyal cohort Doctor Watson will be freshman Philip Starnes from Wellington. Senior Katie Lumbert, Rose Hill, will play Dr. Mortimer, a local doctor who enlists Holmes’ assistance in solving the mystery. 

Everyone else in the 19-person cast show will portray two to four characters each. Sterling sophomore Noah Svaty, Sterling, will be seen as both Sir Charles Baskerville whose murder ignites the plot and Sir Henry Baskerville, heir to the vast Baskerville estate who becomes a target of the would-be murderer.

Sterling sophomore Caleb Brownlee and Emporia freshman Kimberlie Skirvin will be seen as Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore, the caretakers of the Baskerville estate. Whimsical naturalist Mr. Stapleton and his sister Beryl will be sophomore Kurt Keegan, Burlington, and senior Cate Gutteridge, Oklahoma City. 

Hutchinson freshman Mariana Inchauriga will play Holme’s landlady Mrs. Hudson while junior Aubrey Anderson, Sterling, along with Caleb Brownlee will be seen as Cartwright and Milker, two “Irregulars” whom Holmes enlists to help with the case. “Irregulars” are the young children – usually boys – whom Holmes uses on occasion to assist him, along the lines of Fagin’s pickpocket boys from “Oliver.” 

Others in the cast include juniors Kyle Arnett, Denver; Trevor Carr, Portland, OR; Anya Billings, McPherson; Macy Brownlee, Sterling; O’Brien Hall, Plano, TX; Santiago Quintero from Bogota, Columbia; sophomore Lily Stansbury, Lyons; and freshmen Makenzy Carter, Haysville and Bailey Brewer, Hutchinson. 

Directing the Sterling College Theatre production is visiting theatre faculty member Betsy Dutton, who recently retired from Sterling High School. She said, "Ludwig turns one of Holmes' most famous mysteries, The Hound of the Baskervilles, on its head. Instead of a heady whodunit, this production is really a fast-paced comedy."
Dutton added, "the joy in this rendition is not in solving the crime but in the plethora of wildly imaginative characters you meet along the way. By dispensing with British formality, Ludwig has given us a play that is ingeniously funny and will keep you guessing until the curtain call." 

Tickets for Baskerville are $10 for students and $5 for students and are available at or at the door before each performance On February 29, March 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m.  

Sterling College is a Christ-centered, four-year college located in Sterling, Kansas, with a mission to develop creative and thoughtful leaders who understand a maturing Christian faith. For more information, visit