Music, comedy and improv add flair to St. Charles North's 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'
St. Charles North High School will present the Tony Award-winning musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" for four live performances.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 20-22; and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at the school, 255 Red Gate Road, St. Charles.
"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is a fast-paced comedic musical with audience participation. It tells the story of six quirky teens competing in the ultimate spelling championship. Each eclectic speller shares their own struggles and hopes as they each compete until they hear the dreaded ding that indicates their failure. Only one will win the championship.
Featured songs include "Pandemonium," "Chip's Lament," and "Why We Like Spelling."
Tickets are $5 for children/students and $10 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online at north.d303.org or at the box office one hour before the production.
The Daily Herald asked director Konnie Kay Sherry some questions about the show; here are her responses.
Q: Why did you choose "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" for St. Charles North High School's spring musical?
A: We thought the show was a great opportunity for students to have a significant character part in an ensemble musical.
Q: How many students are involved with the production?
A: Around 45 students from actors, to techies, to musicians.
Q: How will your play differ from the original?
A: There are some elements of improvisation and audience participation, so every performance of this musical will always be different.
Q: What were the most challenging aspects of getting this production together? What has been most rewarding?
A: It has been challenging to have students portray children without becoming actual caricatures. The improvisational audience participation has also made it difficult to prepare for the unexpected. The challenging aspects have also been the most rewarding. It has been exciting to see how students deal with the different improvisational moments and work on their realistic character development.
Q: What were some of the best moments in putting together this production?
A: One of the best moments we had as a cast was when we did some team-building exercises to help them learn about themselves when they were younger to help them continue to empathize with their characters.
Q: What do you think audiences will enjoy most about this play?
A: The audience will really get a kick out of the clever and funny writing of the musical. The audience participation and improvisation also make each performance unique from the next.
Q: Anything else you'd like readers to know about this show?
A: It's a show that people will leave feeling happy and encouraged -- it's truly a fun and uplifting musical.