The Cabrini College Theatre is working hard once again to put on a spectacular show for the college community. The theater is currently rehearsing for the spring musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which will open on Thursday, March 18 at 8 p.m.
“I think so far we are doing a really great job. This is the farthest that we’ve come with a musical since we’ve started doing musicals. We’ve never been this prepared,” Shannon Winters, senior English and secondary education major, said.
The musical is about five 12-year-old children who have won district spelling bees and are now competing in the county bee in order to go and compete in the national bee. The five spellers have a unique quality, which adds to the audience’s entertainment throughout the show.
One character, Chip, is the traditional Boy Scout and returning spelling champion. He will have to overcome the problems of his “getting older” in order to win again. Another character, Barfee, is convinced that he is unstoppable because he has a magic foot that spells out the word for him.
“Whenever I tell people about it, I say that I’m a 12 year old who spells with his foot and basically it’s about people who couldn’t be real if the world tried,” Phil Haggerty, junior history major, said.
Other characters include a neglected child who is starving for her parents’ affection, an over achiever who speaks six languages, a child who is pressured by her two fathers to be the best in the bee and a child stuck in the shadow of his much smarter siblings. Every character has to overcome their own obstacles in order to win the bee.
The show also has three characters who are the adults at the spelling bee. There is the role model champion who won years ago as a child, the vice principal who has trouble accepting that he will never be the principal and the comfort counselor who is only there as part of her parole and community service. The adults, like the spellers, have very different personalities, which adds to the comedy that the show brings.
“My freak out is my favorite part of the show. It’s a real fun part of the show. I love the ending. I love all of it,” Matt Rowe, senior business administration major, said.
The music in the show varies from each song to the next. Each song emphasizes the various moments in a spelling bee from the very first word to the final two spellers.
“I think one of my favorite numbers is ‘Magic Foot.’ I just love the energy from it or ‘Pandemonium.’ I really enjoy ‘Pandemonium.’ Not only is it chaos on stage, but it’s chaos in the pit. I think when you just let everything out and let everything be pandemonium it’s the most fun. It’s funny,” Rob Stoop, junior pre-nursing major, said. Stoop is the assistant music director as well as part of the orchestra during the show.
“My favorite part of the show I think has to be Pandemonium. It’s very fun. I think it is kind of meant to disorientate people, because it is so out of the normal scope of reality,” Haggerty said.
The musical this year is different in the fact that there is a different kind of audience participation. Four audience members are actually able to volunteer to be a part of the spelling bee. The audience members are able to be a part of the chaotic competition as well as the singing and dancing.
“You have audience members who are actually participating in the show not just from their seats. They are actually on stage with us. Somebody can be on stage for like 45 minutes before they get offstage and it’s just going to be a great time,” Rowe said.
“They’re going to laugh. They’re going to have a good time. They get to be a part of the show,” Winters said.
The musical opens on March 18 and will run for two weekends in the Grace Hall Theater. Tickets are free for all.