'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' comes to ECC Arts Center this fall

  • Cast members for "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" rehearse for their upcoming production which opens Sept. 27 at Elgin Community College Arts Center. Pictured: front row, from left, Sydney Olson, Kevin Kline and Felisa Lascano; middle row: Colton Loeb, Carrie Loria and Brienna Halterman; and back row, Jessica Farfan, Macky Day and Natalie Gamez.

    Cast members for "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" rehearse for their upcoming production which opens Sept. 27 at Elgin Community College Arts Center. Pictured: front row, from left, Sydney Olson, Kevin Kline and Felisa Lascano; middle row: Colton Loeb, Carrie Loria and Brienna Halterman; and back row, Jessica Farfan, Macky Day and Natalie Gamez. Courtesy of Mary Grace Martens

 
Submitted by Children’s Theatre of Elgin/Fox Valley Theatre Company
Updated 9/13/2019 7:29 PM

For 31 years, Children's Theatre of Elgin/Fox Valley Theatre Company has presented dynamic and affordable family-oriented entertainment.

The two troupes' productions are performed entirely by local young people (second grade through 20 years old).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

This fall, they will transport audiences to the hilarious "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." Portrayed by a talented cast of 14- to 20-year-olds, an eclectic group of competing sixth-graders are each eager to win for very different reasons.

In this Tony-Award winning musical comedy, a lovable cast of adolescent misfits, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, find joy, heartache and a purpose as they compete at the regional spelling bee. Each character's quirks and background are revealed as they participate in the competition -- not to mention the drama that comes with a middle school spelling bee.

Fox Valley's production of the show features a small cast of only 26.

"The actors in this cast are so brilliant, and the comedic timing has come so easily to a lot of them," said the show's director Mary Grace Martens. "I can't wait for audiences to see how hysterical this show truly is! No one would think that a show about a spelling bee would be this funny, but it is!"

From shy and reserved Olive Ostrovsky who lovingly sings "My Friend, the Dictionary", to William Barfée's "Magic Foot" technique, each student is even more socially awkward than the next creating a fast-paced, wildly funny show. "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" hilariously captures the angst, exhilaration, and heartache that make growing up so painful and so wonderful.

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"Everyone will be able to identify or at least empathize with one of the characters portrayed in the show," said Catie Early, president of Children's Theatre of Elgin/Fox Valley Theatre Company. "An overachiever, an allergy-ridden know it all, a latchkey kid, a home-schooler, an equal-rights activist, and a hormone-riddled Boy Scout -- what's not to love? It's been really interesting to see our cast dig in to their characters in order to bring them to life."

"It is so fun to see a group of actors continue to grow in each rehearsal -- especially since I have worked with many of them for a few years now," added Martens.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Elgin Community College Blizzard Theatre, Building H, 1700 Spartan Drive in Elgin.

Tickets are $12 and $10 for students and seniors.

To purchase tickets, visit elgin.edu.arts or call (847) 622-0300. For more information about the show, visit CTEelgin.com.

Children's Theatre of Elgin/Fox Valley Theatre Company is an Illinois 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation in-residence at the Elgin Community College Arts Center. The organization is supported by grants from the EFS Foundation, Palmer Foundation, Grand Victoria Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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