Putnam County comes to LMC

Published 2:43 pm Saturday, March 17, 2012

The award winning musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is coming to Lake Michigan College. Submitted photo.

The Lake Michigan College Performing Arts Department presents “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” March 29 through April 1 at the LMC Mendel Center Hanson Theatre.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is based upon an original improvisational play, C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, written by Rebecca Feldman and performed by The Farm, a New-York-based improvisational comedy troupe. Sarah Saltzberg, one of the actors from the production, recommended that William Finn (music and lyrics) see the show. He, in turn, brought it to the attention of Rachel Sheinkin (book) and the two of them with Feldman transformed the play into a scripted, full-length musical comedy that, in 2005, won two Tony Awards.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” chronicles six overachiever spellers’ angst as they vie for what each feels is the championship of his or her lifetime. It is the place where the winners from local middle school bees, a cast of outsiders, can stand out and fit in at the same time.

Adjudicating the bee is host Rona Lisa Perretti (Rebecca Derbas) still basking in the glow of winning the second annual Putnam County championship; official Word Reader, Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Alan Selvidge) returning from a five-year hiatus from spelling bees, and Comfort Counselor, Mitch Mahoney (Anthony Hernandez), an ex-con finishing court appointed community service at the bee.

As competition intensifies, music directed by Dan Hendrickson along with choreography by Emily Hosinski, further brings character idiosyncrasies and inner turmoil to the stage. In particular is Barfee’s performance of “Magic Foot,” Leaf’s funny but intense “I’m Not That Smart,” and Olive’s rendition of “The I Love You Song.”

Costumes for the production are being created by Penny Murphy. Other backstage crew members include Chelsea Bannan, stage and properties manager; Rebecca Bannan, dramaturge and assistant director; Julia Flaherty, costume assistant and running crew; Zech Glass, Allison Lester, Charles Rumley, and Haley Spencer, lights and sound crew; and Kyra Utroske, production assistant.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” brings to light the doubt and troubles as well as the triumphs all experienced by young people. It also teaches that winning isn’t everything and losing doesn’t necessarily make one a loser.

Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on March 29, 30 and 31. The April 1 performance will take place at 3 p.m.

Tickets are available through the LMC Box Office at (269) 927-1221, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, or at the door one hour prior to each performance. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students and senior citizens, and $5 each for groups of 20 or more. The Hanson Theatre is located in the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center for Arts and Technology on the Napier Avenue Campus.

Due to adult language used, this production is for mature audiences.