“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” Takes the Stage April 7-10 and Mount Union
April 04, 2016
ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union’s Department of Theatre will perform “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” Thursday, April 7 – Sunday, April 10 in the Gallaher Black Box Theatre in the Giese Center for the Performing Arts.
The play centers around a spelling bee in fictional Putnam County with flashbacks and cutaways that help develop the cast of characters. Originally on Broadway in 2005, the play won Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor. The original Broadway production starred Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, while NPR’s Mo Rocca and Saturday Night Live alumnus and PA announcer Darrell Hammond were featured in other casts.
The production is a creative send-up of children’s spelling bees, which meant that guest costume designer Mary Jo Alexander had the task of making the college performers seem nearly a decade younger.
What makes “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” unique is the audience participation element of the show. Any audience member may be called upon to spell a word, or may even be asked to participate in “the Bee.”
‘We chose this play because we wanted a small musical for the Gallaher Theatre,” said Kevin Kern, chair of the Department of Theatre at Mount Union. “It’s an intimate space, and in that theatre you really feel like you’re part of the action, or in this case, the spelling bee.”
The production features live music under the direction of Dr. Otis French, Director of Bands at Mount Union. The production is directed by guest directory Connie Thackaberry, associate artistic director of Actors Summit Theatre, a professional theatre in Akron, Ohio.
“Connie was brought in as part of a new focus in the Department of Theatre,” said Kern. “We’re concentrating on providing our theatre students with professionals in the field. Based on her work with Actors Summit as well as other theatres in the Cleveland area, Connie was the perfect choice to direct our theatre students this semester.”
The performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on April 7, 8 and 9 and at 2 p.m. on April 9 and 10. For tickets visit mountunion.edu/fine-arts-events or call (330) 821-2565. For more information on the Department of Theatre, contact Kern at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit mountunion.edu/theatre-major.