The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee review

The Blake students perform.
The Blake students perform.

After months of rehearsals, the Blake Theatre Department was proud to present this year’s musical, The 25th Annual Putnman County Spelling Bee, during this weekend.

The preview from assembly presented the opening number and scene of the musical, which immediately kicks off a show involving big characters, a grand display of talent, and audience involvement.

The six main spellers of the musical, played by Brooke Sabes ’14, Kira Leadholm ’15, Mark Gustaferro ’16, Joe Owens ’15, Jonah Sandy ’14, and Kaeli Patchen ‘14 exceed all expectations in bringing the necessary energy to play pretty special characters. These include a bisexual elementary school student, a tenacious Catholic school girl, a love-struck Boy Scout, a speller with a magic foot and a peanut allergy, a kid who’s “not that smart,” and a girl that has a dictionary for a best friend.

The Bee’s hosts, played by Megan Olson ’14 and Sebastian Moller ’15, and guidance counselor, played by Annelise Ellingboe ’16, run the Bee and comfort spellers after missing a word.

Throughout the show, the audience learned more about the occasionally pitiful backstories of the headstrong spellers as competition heats up with each correct word spelled.  By the end of the play, many audience members felt that they had a real connection with all the spellers as their characters developed and grew.

Not only was this show well acted, it was also hilarious. In the words of Moller, “I think a lot of people will like this because of the adult humor. What makes it better is hearing it from these elementary school kids in a spelling bee.”

The audience participation added a whole new level to the show.  At the beginning of each show, 3-4 audience members were called up as “spellers that haven’t checked in yet” to spell and be onstage. Every single cast and crewmember agreed that the audience participation was one of the highlights of the show.

All in all, this musical was a special opportunity to see the Blake Theatre Department do a piece that was so unique.  The comedy, talent, and delicious chocolate chip cookies at intermission… they all contributed to the amazing feeling of this very successful show.