PARKERSBURG - As its final production of the 2010-2011 season, the Parkersburg Actors Guild is presenting "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" in late July and early August.
The musical will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and July 29 and 30 and Aug. 5 and 6 and at 2:30 p.m. July 31 at the Guild Playhouse at Eighth and Market streets in downtown Parkersburg.
Tickets for the musical are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students. Tickets are available by calling 304-485-1300 or online at the Guild's website at www.actorsguildonline.com.
The Guild production is directed by Brian Howard with musical direction by Pete Sour. In the musical, six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learn that winning isn't everything and that losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser.
"Spelling Bee" is a hilarious tale of overachievers' angst chronicling the experience of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. The show's Tony Award-winning creative team created the unlikeliest of hit musicals about the unlikeliest of heroes: a quirky yet charming cast of outsiders for whom a spelling bee is the one place where they can stand out and fit in at the same time.
The cast includes:
Megan Hahn as Rona Lisa Peretti
Ben Bradley as Chip Tolentino
Natalie Bradley as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre
Tom Lodato as Leaf Coneybear
Rob Howard as William Barfee
Scarlet Sheppard as Marcy Park
Callie Sour as Olive Ostrovsky
Nathan Jeffers as Douglas Panch
R.J. Lowe as Mitch Mahoney
Howard said "Spelling Bee" has a strong audience participation theme, with four members of the audience brought on stage each show to also act as spellers in the spelling bee. Interested people can sign up for a chance to be called on stage prior to each show, so there will be some completely different cast members for each performance.
Howard said he may also try bringing in some special guest spellers.
"The show is very improvisational, so it's literally going to be different every night. That's part of the fun, how different people spell the words," he said.
"We've had to prepare for basically anything to happen, to go wrong. We have the 'Taboo Buzzer' when somebody overacts," he added.
Howard thinks the production speaks to many people because it touches on so many common elements among different people.
"It's truly hilarious, as well as touching. I think we've all felt these pains, we've all had these highs and these lows. I think it's just a good step back in time for everybody to remember," he said.