The Waupaca Community Theatre will hold auditions for its summer musical from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Waupaca High School.
This year’s production will be “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
Auditions are open to high school age and older. Those auditioning are asked to prepare something to sing. Bring sheet music if possible, as an accompanist will be provided.
Rehearsals will be held Monday through Thursday evenings, beginning June 3.
John Kelley, who previously directed “Into The Woods,” “Little Women” and “Sweeney Todd” for WCT, will direct this summer’s musical.
The show will have six performances at the Waupaca High School Performing Arts Center on July 26-28 and Aug. 1-3.
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is about six adolescents overseen by grown-ups who have barely managed to escape childhood themselves.
“They learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser,” Kelley said.
The show is a humorous tale of overachievers’ angst, chronicling the experience of six young outsiders vying for the spelling championship.
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” started as a non-musical play entitled C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, done by the improvisational group “The Farm.” One of the performers in the play, Sarah Saltzberg, happened to be the nanny of playwright Wendy Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles). Wasserstein was impressed by what she saw and suggested to friend and composer William Finn that he may be able to take the show to the next level.
Finn, his former student Rachel Sheinkin, and C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E creator Rebecca Feldman worked together to turn the piece into a full-length musical.
In the winter of 2004, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” had a workshop at Barrington Stage Company in Sheffield, Mass. The following summer, the show had its first full production in a cafeteria-turned-theater.
From there, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” moved to Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theater, where it quickly sold out its original stay and was extended due to glowing reviews and word of mouth.
The show broke box office records at Second Stage and moved to Broadway’s Circle in the Square on April 15, 2005 with an official opening on May 2. The show won two 2005 Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor.
The cast includes the following characters:
Chip Tolentino- an athletic, social, Boy Scout and champion of the previous Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Leaf Coneybear- the second runner-up in his district, He gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the bee incredibly amusing. He is home-schooled and comes from a large family of former hippies. He has severe Attention Deficit Disorder and spells words correctly while in a trance.
William Barfee- a Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and is back for vindication. His famous “Magic Foot” method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy, bullying personality. He develops a crush on Olive.
Olive Ostrovsky- a young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. Having found comfort in its words and vastness, Olive made friends with her dictionary at a very young age.
Marcy Parks- a recent transfer from Virginia, placed ninth in last year’s nationals. She speaks six languages, is a member of All-American hockey, a championship rugby player, plays Chopin and Mozart on multiple instruments, sleeps only three hours a night, hides in the bathroom cabinet and is getting very tired of always winning. She is also not allowed to cry.
Logainne Schwartzandgrunenierre is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. She is driven by internal and external pressure, but above all by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp and will be back next year.
Rona Peretti is the No. 1 Realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee champion herself and the returning moderator.
Douglas Panch ia the vice principal and frustrated with his life. He finds the drive of the young spellers alien to him. After five years’ absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.
Mitch Mahoney is the Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He has no idea how to offer comfort, but does find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better.
The Waupaca Community Theatre is a division of the Waupaca Fine Arts Festival. For more information and updates, visit www.fineartsfestival.org