I’ve seen many, many plays (and even performed in a few!) at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center. If my years as a thespian taught me anything, it is to view drama with a critical eye. So, when I tell you that the production of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is my favorite play I’ve ever seen at WDPAC, you’ll understand how serious I am!
This show has it all, from fantastic source material, to a talented cast and excellent production values. The story centers on an eclectic group of young spellers, all competing to win the titled bee. The clash of personalities already guarantees plenty of laughs, but I was genuinely impressed by the comedic timing of the entire ensemble cast. Several characters even double up on roles, variously playing elementary schoolers, their parents, and on one occasion, Jesus. Solid vocals throughout the entire cast caused alternate laughter and tears (yes, I actually cried during “Chimerical”) and the choreography provided plenty of visual humor.
One of my favorite parts was when audience members were brought on stage as part of the competition and asked to spell words just like the other characters. They all did an amazing job rolling with the punches. The lighting and set design created seamless transitions between songs and scenes, making the performance flow effortlessly.
The whole show was hilarious, thought provoking, and over before I knew it. The book may have provided the basis, but the creative vision of the director and the follow through of the production team and cast deserves its own accolades. We have amazing talent here in Sanford, and if you don’t believe me, you must see this show!
The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center will run again this weekend, November 21-23, 2014.