Episcopal High School the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeeBy Cappies • Feb 21st, 2010 • Category: Cappies
If anything, Episcopal High School’s production of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee spells out one thing: P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-A-L. Adapted from the original Broadway production which had hefty box office success, garnering six Tony nominations, and nabbing two, this version for younger audiences is just as delightful and exquisite. As the story unfolds the musical takes audience members through the ups and downs of the contestant’s personal stories, as they spell and sing out their woes and joys upon the stage.
The musical opens up with Rona Lisa Perretti (Liz Helm) introducing the audience to the spellers and giving background information on both herself and the young characters. Later the trajectory of the story allows us to meet the six main quirky young characters: Leaf Coneybear (Eric Chow), Marcy Park (Alex Covert), Olive Ostovsky (Sara Hulbert), Chip Tolentino (Russell Pierson), Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (Caroline Liddick), and William Barfee (George Thorne).
Among this exceptional cast of young thespians were three particular standouts, Sara Hulbert’s strong mezzo-soprano vocals and youthful interpretation of Olive’s character. In conjunction there was also the clear tenor voice of Russell Pierson and his likable portrayal of Chip, who misses out on what could have been his winning the spelling bee, if not for the mishaps of puberty. And conclusively the enticing character choices made by George Thorne where excellent in showing both the tough “Go big or go home” attitude found in his character as well as the surprisingly gentle giant within.
Consisting of a small ensemble of thirteen cast members, who were all present on stage it could have been easy to lose energy and stamina as the show progressed, but fortunately that was not the case with the energetic cast. Some actors were required to switch into different roles while still onstage and they did so seamlessly. The ingenious usage of audience participation allowed the actors to show off their excellent improvisational skills as well. Particular songs that lent themselves as crowd favorites were “Pandemonium,” “Magic Foot” and “The I Love You Song.”
Characterized by strong vocals, entertaining choreography, and ongoing energy, Episcopal High School’s production of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ran at 90 minutes with no intermission. It certainly was a great family friendly gem, hitting all the right notes for a memorable high school production.
by Ivana Headley of Dominion High School
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/4729.