‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ Staged at UWSP
Above, The UWSP Department of Theatre and Dance will stage the humorous musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” Nov. 14-16 and 19-22. Contestants are played by (front row, from left:) Khaila Wilcoxon, Emily Reeves, Calum Bedborough and Kiah Fischer; back row: Sam McLellan, Jalen Johnson and Tyler Sandblom. (Contributed photo)
For the City-Times
Join six awkward adolescents on their quest to win “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” as staged by the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Nov. 14-16 and 19-22.
The Tony Award-winning musical will be performed in the Studio Theatre in the Noel Fine Arts Center at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14 and 15, and Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 19-22. A 2 p.m. matinee will be offered Sunday, Nov. 16.
Tickets are $19 for adults, $18 for seniors, $14 for youth and $4.50 for students with UW-Stevens Point ID. Tickets are available at the UW-Stevens Point Information and Tickets Office in the Dreyfus University Center concourse, by calling 715-346-4100 or at http://tickets.uwsp.edu/index.php. Seating is limited in the Studio Theatre, so those interested are encouraged to buy tickets early.
“With something for everyone, ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ is never boring,” said Mark Hanson, show director and coordinator of the musical theatre program at UW-Stevens Point. “Much of its humor is from creative use of the language. Adults have fun with it, as do kids.”
Nine student cast members portray six grade-school spellers and the three adults who help with the bee, along with additional roles as part of musical fantasy sequences.
“What is so fun about this show is that people see themselves in the characters,” Hanson said. “This gives people the chance to root for their favorite.”
Each performance will be different because a few audience members are spelling bee contestants, Hanson said. Before each show, attendees may fill out a form to be chosen as extras. No experience is needed for these roles, but spelling skills will help them stay on stage longer.
“There’s no pressure, because the cast will guide them,” he said. “The audience enjoys cheering for their friends on stage.”
Music created by William Finn is quirky, charming and theatrical, with humorous lyrics in songs such as “My Friend, the Dictionary” and “I’m Not that Smart.” A six-piece band will be on one side of stage, featuring Assistant Professor Alan Patrick Kenny as conductor and pianist and Professor Emeritus Roger Nelson on keyboard.
Students are filling many roles behinds the scenes, designing the costumes, props, lighting and sound. “The students bring so much to this show,” Hanson said. “I am impressed by their talent.”