Updated Sat, Mar 10, 2012 9:36 pm
On this edition of Conversations from Studio B, Joe Balding, Celeste Parsons and Sylvia Abbott discuss the ABC Players' production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, being performed at Stuart's Opera House through March 17.
The play is an uproarious look at what happens when the county’s best spellers compete for the title of spelling champ while simultaneously navigating the twists and turns of adolescence.
The bee is presided over by Rona Lisa Peretti (played by Linda Watkins), a former bee winner and top realtor. Serving as pronouncer is Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Terry Smith), who was called in last-minute and does not hold the bee in such high regard as Rona does. Mick Mahoney (Cecilia Rinaldi) is a parolee fulfilling the role of comfort counselor as part of her mandated community service.
Though vastly different from one another, the spellers themselves have one thing in common: The desire to be named champion and move on to nationals. Last year’s bee winner, Chip Tolentino (Charlie Smith), is a wholesome, all American boy confident of a repeat victory. Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (Megan Wanczyk) is a young political activist who feels pressured by her fathers to succeed.
Conversely, Leaf Coneybear (Chris Coleman) was second runner up at his local bee and wants to enjoy his experience at the county level, despite his family’s lack of faith in his abilities. William Barfée (Joe Balding) took second place last year and has returned with his “magic foot” technique and chronic sinus issues, hoping for a win.
Marcy Park (Emily Maluski) recently moved into the county and is the ultimate over-achiever of whom excellence is always expected. Olive Ostrovsky (Celeste Parsons) is a timid girl with absentee parents and a deep love of language. This motley crew is joined by three guest spellers from the audience, making each performance a little different.
Rounding out the cast are the spelling bee cheerleaders (Christine Neumann, Dana Gisser, Lynn Grabowski, and Kaylla Steadman).
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is directed by Sylvia Abbott, with musical direction by Lynn Sullivan. Jenn Fritchley is choreographer and assistant director.
The set was designed by Marissa Dienstag. Costumes were designed and created by Patty Witmer. Suzanne Ragg serves as stage manager, with Ardelle Donohue as props master.
The show contains mild adult humor, so audience discretion is advised. Visit www.stuartsoperahouse.org for tickets and show times. For more information on the Athenian Berean Community Players, visit www.abcplayers.org.