The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Win Tickets to this show…Read on!
“Trespass. T – R – E – S…” Nine years old and fourth speller left, I paused. Were there one or two s’s in the middle? I guessed two, and with the disheartening ding of the buzzer, my chance at spelling stardom disappeared. Since then, I’ve never forgotten how to spell ‘trespass,’ or been in another bee. However, in Dayton Playhouse’s upcoming production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, we can all relive those childhood competitions… some of us, even onstage with the actors.
According to the show’s official website, this “hilarious tale of overachievers’ angst chronicles the experiences of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime.” Each student is eclectic and unique, from the youngest but politically aware Logainne SchwartzandGrubenniere (overseen by her overbearing, gay fathers), to the linguistic, obsessively confident, not-allowed-to-cry Marcy Park (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, anyone?) to the pubescent (inopportunely so…) Chip Tolentino.
The adults in charge are equally diverse and have barely managed to escape childhood themselves. The result is a quirky and hilarious story “filled with jubilant music, humor, and heart.”
Cast member Corinne Derusha, who plays host Rona Lisa Peretti, observed,
“Spelling Bee isn’t meant to be performed by kids [it’s aimed to be performed by adults portraying children] but with the range of ages and experiences [of our cast], it takes the audience away from that one aspect and focuses more on the characters we have created.”
This unique portrayal of children by adults is, according to director Natalie Houliston, “very revealing, [bringing] a new life and light to the struggle of the human condition.”
The characters are not the only spellers in this fictitious bee. Prior to the show, audience members can sign up with Vice Principle Panch and Rona to be considered for one of four audience speller roles. Don’t let this b-e-l-e-a-g-u-e-r you, though – these spellers don’t have to be amazing, merely willing to sit onstage and try their best!
The cast members have enjoyed working on this production. Derusha in particular loves the music: “[it] is brilliant. And singing it every day has been a treat. I’m going to be sad when it’s over.” Each of the cast members with which I spoke also praised the show’s direction as both professional and familial.
Charity Farrell, who plays Marcy, said,
“Natalie has been incredible to work with… she is completely open to any ideas we might have – in fact, every single suggestion that anyone has thrown out from the beginning has been answered with, ‘I’d be willing to see that!’”
Especially for a show about a student experience, that spirit of collaboration is perfect. But, this attitude has not come at the expense of quality and a clear vision, but rather alongside and promoting them.
The cast shares this perspective : Errik Hood, vocal director and Vice-President Panch, said, “The entire cast showed up to the first rehearsal with great voices, but the truly special thing about each of them was their willingness and ability to try new ideas, experiment with new vocal colors and approaches, and to dramatically motivate each musical choice– making the singing an organic manifestation of the character instead of a superimposed or conflicting idea.”
That combination of synergy, creativity, and leadership, along with a s-t-e-l-l-a-r cast of s-p-e-l-l-e-r-s, makes Dayton Playhouse’s production of The 25th Annual Spelling Bee a show Dayton audiences shouldn’t miss.
p-a-i-d-e-i-a (a compendium of general education)
Who: Complete cast – Corinne Derusha, Errik M. Hood, Lindsay Sherman, Charity Farrell, Bobby Mitchum, Matthew Smith, David Thomas, David Stone, and Hannah Berry. Directed by Natalie Houliston, with musical and vocal direction from Joe Whatley and Errik Hood, choreography by Erica Hamilton, lights by John Findley, sound by Tony Fende, costumes by Eric Winslow, and stage management by Cami Brewer.
When: January 28 through February 13; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm.
Where: 1301 Siebenthaler Avenue, Dayton.
Warning: Parents strongly cautioned: “…Spelling Bee” contains strong language, adult jokes, and mature themes. Not recommended for children under 13.
To purchase tickets, visit http://www.daytonplayhouse.org or call the box office at (937) 424-8477.
Win Free Tickets!
The Dayton Playhouse & onStageDayton on DaytonMostMetro.com have teamed up to give you a chance to win tickets to Spelling Bee! We will be giving away up to FOUR pairs of tickets for the show! All you need to do is:
- Share this article on Facebook or Twitter…just click the appropriate button at the top of this page (We’ll give away one pair of tickets for every TEN FB/Twitter Shares).
- Fill out the contact form at the bottom of this post.
- Leave a comment, answering the following question…WHAT COMMONLY USED WORD ALWAYS TRIPS YOU UP WHEN YOU TYPE IT? You know…”D-E-S-S-E-R-T or D-E-S-E-R-T?”
- The deadline to enter is NOON on FRIDAY, January 28th.
- Winners will be selected randomly from all of the entries.
Contest Closed 1/28/2011 at Noon