Exit 7 Players
in Ludlow, Massachusetts
THEATER SEASON 2012--2013
OCTOBER 12 - 28, 2012
FEBRUARY 8 - 17, 2013
THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES
MARCH 8, 9, 10 - 2013
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
APRIL 26 & 27, 2013 @ 8:00 PM
APRIL 28 @ 2:00 PM
MAY 3, 4, 10 % 11 @ 8:00 PM
MAY 5, 2013 @ 2:00 PM
2011 - 2012
Since 1984, the Exit 7 Players, located in Ludlow, Massachusetts,
have been dedicated to the production of
classical, contemporary, and musical works
that entertain, educate, and delight audiences of all ages.
25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
April 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 8:00PM
April 15 and 22 at 2:00PM
Music and Lyrics by William Finn
Book by Rachel Sheinkin
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman
Based on C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E
Additional material by Jay Reiss
Originally produced on Broadway by David Stone, James Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo
Barrington Stage Company, Second Stage Theater
Presented through special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI)
All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI
421 W 54th Street, New York, NY 10019
REVIEWED by B. K. GRANT
This production offers professionalism that would make Broadway proud.
Thanks to the expertise of Paul Hamel (tech director), Michael Crowther (sound), Tom LeCourt (who directed this awesome performance) and Winnie Cardaropoli (producer), this reviewer was wistfully taken back to the small auditorium of grammar school: risers with stackable molded chairs neatly arranged, drum set and piano tucked against the back wall, and the single menacing microphone front and center. The Putnam County Pit Band marches in (unable to tell their right foot from their left), and under the talented direction of George Garber, creates musical magic.
An unusual aspect of the show is the interactive format from the very beginning: audience members are invited on stage by Rona Lisa Perretti to compete in the spelling bee alongside the six youngsters. Energetic Kathy Renaud (Titanic, Jekyll & Hyde and Thoroughly Modern Millie) is perfectly cast as uptight Rona, returning moderator, who frequently basks in the limelight of her past (as in long ago) win of the Bee.
Vice Principal Doug Panch is the learned word reader for the Bee. Eric Johnson (Titanic) plays this character wonderfully as somewhat dignified, if not a tad pompous, as he reads ridiculous ‘sentences’ for even more ridiculous spelling words.
Michael Garcia (Rent) successfully fills the bill as Mitch Mahoney, the Bee’s comfort counselor to those contestants who misspell and therefore must leave. A parolee performing community service, he has a soft heart hidden by a gruff persona.
William Barfee is very smart – and lets it be known at every opportunity. Spelling with his ‘magic foot’, Todd Porter (making his Exit7 debut) nails this nerdy personality and gradually becomes less and less obnoxious, almost endearing.
Steve Grabowski (Rent) has the role of Leaf Coneybear down pat – he projects a quirky non-conformist which happenstance has placed in the Bee competition. Convinced he’s not the brightest bulb in the package, he does correctly spell his assigned words in a strange trance-like posture.
Olive Ostrovsky has to be the most animated character in the play: she’s all wiggles from the top of her head down to her pink sneakers. Nikki Wadleigh (Rent, Titanic) is amazing as she portrays Olive as shy and unsure, yet determined to succeed in the Bee. Her emotion-filled rendition of the “I Love You” song nearly brought this reviewer to tears.
Megan Hoy’s portrayal of Marcy Park is spot-on: an over-achiever expected to succeed in all endeavors, and not enjoying life at all. Quite a change from her role in Jekyll & Hyde, she is wonderfully convincing in her Catholic school uniform.
Chip Tolentino typifies the male teen’s mindset as he desperately struggles between sexual fantasies and concentrating on the spelling assignments at hand. David Webber, a senior at West Springfield High School, is marvelous as Chip; he has also appeared in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Titanic and Into the Woods.
Kyle Boatwright excels as pigtailed Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, the youngest speller who strives to be perceived as totally normal, albeit having two gay dads as parents and a speech impediment. Quite a change from Kyle’s steamy appearance last year in Rent.
Kudos to Sue Crowther (stage manager), Mary Ann Scognamiglio (costumer), Mike Pandolfi and Jess Miller (lighting) for their talents, without which this show would not be nearly as fantastic .
A hit musical receiving critical and international acclaim, Tony Award winning Spelling Bee premiered on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre on April 15, 2005, closing on January 20, 2008 after 1,136 performances.
Playing, unfortunately, to a less than full house here at Exit7, this production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (a mouthful worth talking about) triumphantly delves into the psyche, revealing the pains of youth in striving for academic success. A great character study framed by clear dialog and lyrics, and one that teaches us all a little something, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is definitely worth a trip to Ludlow. You will be enlightened and entertained to the Nth degree with a laugh every minute.
Don’t miss it!
This show has been given a PG-13 rating for mature language and subject matter.