Fall Musical Attracts Audiences
by The Milton Measure on Friday, November 11th, 2011
Milton Academy’s Fall Musical, the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, opened in King Theater on Thursday, November 3 to a nearly full house.
The result of much hard work from directors Kelli Edwards and Robert Saint Laurence ’07 and a tightly knit cast, the quirky production has received very positive reviews from the student body.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was published originally as a book, written by Rachel Sheinkin. In 2005, the Broadway Theater adopted Putnam for the stage as a one-act musical comedy, featuring music and lyrics by William Finn. Under the direction of James Lapine, the show earned extraordinary reviews and was nominated for six Tony Awards, of which it won two.
The musical revolves around a fictional spelling bee in Putnam County. 6 eccentric middle school students compete in the Bee, which is hosted by two equally unusual adults. Miss Peretti (Liane Thornhill, II), the hostess, addresses all of the competitors as “winners,” as they have already won their district championships.
Yet the students themselves are by no means dissuaded from competition. Schwartzandgrubenierre (Lily Steig, I) yearns to please her gay parents (Charlie Blasberg, III and Eric Bohn, I), who firmly believe that “God hates losers.” Olive Ostrovsky (Hannah Auerbach, I)simply loves to spell.
Marcy Park (Liz Stanfield I) is an overachieving, snobby girl. Leaf Coneybear (Corey Schwaitzberg, III), a boy with ADHD, tries to prove to himself and his family that he is, in fact, smart. The next contestant, a brainy young fellow named, William Barfeé (James McHugh, I), pronounced, “Bar-FAY,” is determined to win the cup despite the hindrance of his rare sinus condition.
Last ,but certainly not least, is Chip Tolentino (Matt Rohrer, II), a boy scout who believes that things will come very easily to him. However, Chips world is turned upside-down when puberty hits him at an untimely moment in the competition.
Director Kelli Edwards, who teaches dance and choreography, has been choreographing Milton’s musicals since she arrived here 10 years ago. While she was anxious about her first time directing, she was more than satisfied with the acting company. “The cast worked hard on their music, which was not easy, and worked really well with the audience volunteers. We couldn’t be happier about the way that the show turned out.”
The cast members themselves were happy with their performances as well. Louis McWilliams (I), who played Vice Principal Douglas Panch shares that “[Putnam] went pretty well. I am always astounded by the talent of my fellow actors, and I truly thought they nailed their roles every single night.”
Allison Choi (IV), an audience member, also enjoyed the show, gushing that “the musical was really funny. I liked how they interacted with the members of the audience: It made it ten times more fun to watch. The songs were really catchy and I found myself singing them after the show was all over.”
The musical was funny, interesting and exciting. The musical kept me engaged the entire time. The expressions of the actors and actresses were both hilarious and human. Like Allison, I found myself humming the theme song long after the show was over. The casting was extraordinary.
Each actor or actress played his or her part to its fullest potential, and the cast brought the entire play to life. I would like to applaud this group of talented students, and I look forward to next year’s show.
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