MD Theatre Guide: SPELLING BEE

How do you spell Keegan Theatre’s rousing and sweet and often touching production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee? (‘Spelling Bee’) F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S and W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L! Everyone in town seems to have this show on their season schedule and I’ve already seen three other local productions, but this Keegan Theatre production is the most endearing, heartwarming, and the funniest I’ve seen. It’s pure joy!

Spelling Bee is 90 minutes of uninterrupted fun (there is no intermission). … a fabulous cast – filled with some of our best local young talented actors and singers.

Vocally, this is the strongest group of singers I have seen in a production mounted since the Broadway production. The harmonies on the opening title song were heavenly, and right then I knew we were in for a fantastic evening of singing and acting.”

… Each one of the characters and actors has their “moment in the sun” as composer and lyricist William Finn has written each of them an “11:00 number” where we learn all about these young spellers’ backgrounds and fears.

…Kudos to Musical Director/pianist Elisa Rosman and her teeny-tiny band of fine musicians … They never drowned out the actors and played William Finn’s melodic and bouncy score so well.

Director Christina Coakley keeps the show moving at a fast pace and ensures that no one on the stage over-acts, which I have seen in so many other productions of The Bee.”

Shadia Hafiz’s costumes compliment the personalities of the spellers, especially Coneybear’s colorful cape. Jake Null’s sound is crisp and clear. George Lucas’ simple set is perfect for the production. You feel like you are right there in that gym sitting alongside those spellers, and the focus is on the spellers not the set – a very smart choice indeed! Melissa Douglass Bustamante’s choreography is sheer fun …

Bee-warned! Run and get tickets to The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee now. Bee-lieve me, it’s going to sell out!

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