‘Spelling Bee’ teaches there is more to life than winning

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William Barfee, played by theater freshman Matthew Perales, receives a trophy and a $200 check for wining first place in the spelling bee competition Wednesday in McAllister auditorium theater during rehearsal of “The 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Musical.”  Photo by Ayesa Hinojosa

William Barfee, played by theater freshman Matthew Perales, receives a trophy and a $200 check for wining first place in the spelling bee competition Wednesday in McAllister auditorium theater during rehearsal of “The 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Musical.” Photo by Ayesa Hinojosa

Leaf ConeyBear, played by theater sophomore Nathan Mesa, comforts Logainne Schwartz, played by theater sophomore Grace Taylor with a present, after she was disqualified from the spelling bee Wednesday in McAllister theater during rehearsal of  “The 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Musical.”  Photo by Ayesa Hinojosa

Leaf ConeyBear, played by theater sophomore Nathan Mesa, comforts Logainne Schwartz, played by theater sophomore Grace Taylor with a present, after she was disqualified from the spelling bee Wednesday in McAllister theater during rehearsal of “The 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Musical.” Photo by Ayesa Hinojosa

Musical comedy offers heartwarming moments the audience can relate to.

By Dorothy P. Braziel

sac-ranger@alamo.edu 

This college’s production of a Tony Award-winning musical will debut Nov. 18, and it might just cast a spell on the audience with an interactive scene.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18-23 and at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 22-23 in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center.

Tickets are $5 for Alamo College students, faculty and staff; $8 for senior citizens, military and other students; and $10 for general admission.

The musical is based on the book by Rachel Sheinkin and the improvisational play “C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E” by Rebecca Feldman.

Broadway composer William Finn, who wrote the music and lyrics, later transformed the play into a musical with the help of director James Lapine.

The comedy chronicles six awkward adolescents as they compete in a spelling bee while parents encourage, micromanage or sabotage their efforts.

Musical flashbacks explain each character’s background.

“Every character has a song that reflects who they are — their inner monologue,” said Paula Rodriguez, theater program coordinator and director of the show.

The musical will also incorporate four volunteer spellers from the audience into the spelling bee. The volunteers will tackle an especially difficult word, which they are not meant to spell correctly. But if they do, the actors must adjust their monologue.

“Students will really have to be on their toes and really, really sharp,” Rodriguez said. “Anything can happen, and no show is the same.”

The cast of spellers features freshmen Ailyn Duran as Olive Ostrovsky; Matthew Perales as William Barfee; sophomores Grace Taylor as Logainne SchwartzandGrubenierre; Esther Padilla as Marcy Park; Mason Anthony Ortiz as Charlito “Chip” Tolantino and Jesus; and Nathan Mesa as Leaf ConeyBear, all theater majors.

Theater sophomore Eric Alvarado will play the role of vice principal Douglas Panch. Moderator and former spelling bee champion Rona Peretti is played by theater sophomore Lauren Hunt, and comfort counselor Mitch Mahoney is played by music sophomore Jordan Green.

Rodriguez is designing the costumes. Technical director Debbie Coates will design the sets, and theater sophomore Kyle Carmelo will do the lighting design.

For more information, contact the department of fine art at 210-486-0255.

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