Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg University’s Department of Theatre and Dance and Department of Music have collaborated to present The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, with performances scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 25-27, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, in Chakeres Memorial Theatre, 905 Woodlawn Ave.
The award-winning Broadway musical is about 10 quirky adolescent spellers who compete for a chance to go to the national spelling bee while becoming the unlikeliest of heroes. According to guest director Pamela Hill, the unique script gives Wittenberg students a chance to play roles in which they have all found themselves in at one point in their lives.
The musical does have one, very special twist that makes the show different from other musicals.
“The production is innovative in that not only does the cast compete, but selected volunteer audience members are also allowed to compete,” Hill said. “Because the audience volunteers are not scripted, every performance is unique, which makes for a truly fun show.
“This is a great musical for Wittenberg to produce. It allows many actors the chance to play an age that they have actually gone through as opposed to playing an older character. It also utilizes their musical abilities, their improvisational and dance skills, and their spelling knowledge. Another unique quality of this production is that it references specific current locales and news items. Actors actually write certain portions of the script.”
The cast includes Hollie Hongosh, class of 2010 from Olmsted Falls, Ohio; Benjamin Johnson, class of 2012 from Cincinnati, Ohio; Krissy Hartman, class of 2013 from Strongsville, Ohio; Adam Paine, class of 2012 from Temperance, Mich.; Vincent Pontius, class of 2011 from Milford, Center, Ohio; Aly Michaud, class of 2013 from Westlake, Ohio; Jessica Bruce, class of 2010 from Powell, Ohio; Collin Wenzell, class of 2010 from Half Moon Bay, Calif.; and Chris Jones, class of 2010 from Middletown, Ohio.
Audience interviewers and stand-ins include Ian Chadd, class of 2013 from Xenia, Ohio; Lydia Coleman, class of 2012 from Roslyn Heights, NY; Sarah Fickling, class of 2013 from Havertown, Pa., Laura Kay, class of 2012 from Olmsted Township, Ohio; and Jessie Voors, class of 2011 from Fort Wayne, Ind. The stage director is Ryann Greenberg, class of 2012 from Carmel, Ind., musical director is Susan Carlock, and the choreographer is Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Shih-Ming Li Chang.
Tickets are $4 and are available at the Benham-Pence Student Center service desk. Call (937) 327-7443 or contact the Department of Theatre and Dance office at (937) 327-7464 for more information.
Written by: Trent Brunic ’10