‘25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ wraps up theatre season at Eisenhower

Dagen Lusis

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Eisenhower was back and funnier than ever, with the new take on an elementary school classic. Earlier this month, “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” took the stage and had audiences laughing throughout the aisles.

The story follows six quirky students at an elementary school, who want nothing more than to win the shiny spelling bee trophy. The characters are extremely diverse and vary from a science nerd who spells words with his “magical foot,” to a little boy who makes his own clothes. Throughout the musical, the actors are forced to stay in character, as everyone is on stage the entire time.

In fact, that is one of the most charming aspects of the musical itself. Because the story takes place at an elementary school, characters are designed to be overly obnoxious. Throughout the musical, actors are engaging in sidebar conversations, making humorous facial expressions, and even engaging with the audience, breaking the fourth wall.

Another enjoyable aspect of the musical is the improvanization. “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” could be different every time you watch it, as many scenes allow actors to do whatever they want with their character.

In the beginning of the musical, Alecia Hough, who plays the principal, calls out three  different names from the audience. The audience members that are called are forced onstage and are asked to spell random words throughout the show. If they get it right, they stay on stage; however, if the spelling is incorrect, the cast sings out a melodic “Goodbye” song.

“The theme of musicals and plays this year was focused on family values,” said Mary Kirby, director of Putnam. “Choosing Putnam felt right and really focused on the different themes we wanted to convey over the course of the theater season.”

Although this was the last performance of the year, the cast is already preparing for next years musicals and plays, including “Into the Woods,” “Godspell,” and “Twelve Angry Jurors” which revolve around next year’s theme, “You’re not alone.”

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