Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010

Spelling Bee Comedy In Greendale

Greendale Community Theatre presents the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

By Russ Bickerstaff
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A few days ago, I found myself sinking into a show on the documentary channel. Jeffrey Blitz’s 2002 documentary Spellbound was one of the first films I’d ever seen on critics’ advance screening. The story of eight teenagers competing in the national spelling bee remains an interesting, well-executed documentary. It was a film I was reminded of when I first saw the touring Broadway production of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. What Blitz did so well with Spellbound was competently executed here by a touring show that had been customized a bit for local audiences. The concept of turning a quirky American competition into a somewhat standard American musical by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin. Next weekend, the Greendale Community Theatre launches its production of the popular contemporary musical.

Following the overall plot structure of a standard spelling bee, the musical is an ensemble affair. The cast here features quit a few names recognizable from GCT’s recent production of Rent including Jordan Gwiazdowski, Amber Smith, Brad Novak and more. The clever bit here is the fact that the play is set in a school auditorium and . . . it’s being staged in a high school auditorium, which almost kind of makes it an environmental production.

The Greendale Community Theatre’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee runs January 8th – 16th at the Greendale High School Auditorium on 6801 Southway.

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