Community Players and director Brett Cottone have the cast in place for their May production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
The musical comedy (book by Rachel Sheinkin, music and lyrics by William Finn), about kids vying to win the local spelling bee -- with words like capybara and vug on the agenda -- will feature Joe McDonald and Aimee Kerber as the adults (Vice Principal Douglas Patch and former Putnam County Spelling Bee champ Rona Lisa Peretti) running the show, Chris Stanford as "comfort counselor" Mitch Mahoney, and Brian Artman, Kallie Bundy, Megan Masterman, Joel Shoemaker, Kelly Slater and Austin Travis as the over-invested child spellers.
Bundy will play Olive Ostrovsky, the girl whose mother is off in an ashram somewhere, while Artman will take on the magic foot of William Barfée (note the accent -- he is particular that his name is pronounced BarFAY, not BARFy), who can only spell if he can sketch the words out with his shoe, Masterman will be over-achiever-in-every-way Marcy Park, Slater will play (and perhaps spell the name of ) Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, a socially-aware little girl with two gay dads, Travis will personify sweet, not-that-smart Leaf Coneybear, who keeps getting asked to spell the names of rodents, and Joel Shoemaker will bring boy-scout-with-growing-up-issues Chip Tolentino to life.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is an adorable show with characters you can't help but root for. And if you have a hankering to be part of the action, most productions pull volunteer spellers from the audience to compete along with Barfée, Chip, Leaf, Logainne, Marcy and Olive. In New York, Julie Andrews was a guest speller and had to do supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, while I got picked in Chicago on my birthday, and I got asked for lysergic acid diethylamide. The other volunteer speller there got cow, so you just never now.
Performance of this Spelling Bee begin May 9 at Community Players Theatre on Robinhood Lane.