Madison County High School will present 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a long one-act musical comedy, Jan. 26-28.
hically ambiguous Putnam County,” said MCHS Drama director Brian Jones, who will perform with the students. “Six quirky, socially awkward adolescents find joy, heartache, and a purpose while competing in the Bee, which is run by three equally quirky grown-ups. In hilarious, touching, and catchy songs, each speller reveals his or her hopes, struggles, and passions as they make their way through the competition. An unusual aspect of the show is that four members of the audience are invited on stage to compete in the spelling bee alongside the six youngsters.”
The show’s music and lyrics are by William Finn. The book is by Rachel Sheinkin, and additional material is by Jay Reiss. Jones said he chose the spelling bee show because he wanted to add a second musical to the season. And he wanted a smaller cast.
“Spelling Bee fit that criteria,” he said. “It is also one of the funniest shows that I’ve ever seen, but it’s vocally a very challenging show. I knew this show would allow us to challenge our best actors and singers, but also allow us to have lots of fun doing it.”
The director said the show is “truly and ensemble.”
“The cast has to work so well together in order for the show to be successful,” said Jones. “I would like to point out Molli McGinnis and Caleb Brown who have really stepped up and taken leadership roles in the cast. They are always willing to help their fellow cast members work on music or characterization. Bailey Poole is also performing in his first show as a senior. This is also the first time that I have acted in a show here at MCHS in addition to my directing duties. It has been so much fun to step back on the stage after many years of only directing with such an incredible group of students.”
Jones said cast members started rehearing in December.
“This cast has put in so much work in such a short period of time,” he said. “While school started back on Jan. 5 for students, the cast and crew were here on January 2, 3 and 4 rehearsing all day. This cast is just so dedicated and willing to sacrifice their time to make this show a success.”
Jones said the MCHS theatre program is thriving.
“In the fall, we won the first one-act play region championship in school history, and we placed fifth at the state competition,” said Jones. “We have expanded our course offerings in theatre, and we now have theatre fundamentals, advanced acting and advanced technical theatre classes offered during the day. While we are definitely in a good place now, I want to see our theatre program continue to grow and continue to be a top-notch program.”
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