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Spelling Bee February 24, 2015


MCP Debuts 'Spelling Bee,' New Director
Patrick Lighthall

The Marshall Civic Players are in final preparations for their upcoming performances of the hilarious PG-13 musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The talented small cast is helmed by an experienced director making her MCP directorial debut: Charlene Rucker.

Gathering previous experience directing at Coldwater High School and additional shows with Branch County Community Theater, Rucker brings a new perspective to one of her favorite shows.
"Spelling Bee is different from a lot of traditional musicals in large part due to the audience participation element. Audience members have a chance to join the spelling bee and compete to be the champion," Rucker explains.

While the stage is set for the spelling bee, it's the events and emotions surrounding the spelling bee that make the show so important. Six young people in the throes of puberty - overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves - learn that winning isn't everything.

"This show makes you laugh out loud, but also has very touching sections as we watch these youngsters, played by adults, have incredible pressure placed on them to be a winner," Rucker says.

This dynamic is perhaps most evident in one of the stand out songs, "I Love You," sung by one of the spelling bee hopefuls. "This is one of my favorite scenes, and it is one of the more serious parts of the show," explains Rucker, "her parents did not make it to the spelling bee, and you get a sense of the beauty and heartbreak within each of the contestants."

"I Love You" is just one of the memorable songs from the show. "Our music director, Kathleen Warriner, has gotten the actors into amazing shape," says Rucker, "audiences are in for a real treat."

Another one of those memorable songs comes from Boy Scout Chip Tolentino, portrayed by Tony Barroso. In the not-for-kids song, "Chip has a terrible realization that something very private is happening extremely publicly," explains Barroso. Once again, a funny and embarrassing moment in the show becomes poignant, watching as these young kids grow up.

Comedy and music lovers everywhere can find out who wins The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and work re-discover the woes of adolescence when the show runs March 13-15 and 20-22, with Friday and Saturday shows starting at 8:00pm and Sunday shows starting at 2:30pm at the Franke Center for the Arts in downtown Marshall. This PG-13 show is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $8 for students. Call (269) 781-3335 for ticket information.


25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Opens soon!
Patrick Lighthall

Despite the cold weather, the Marshall Civic Players are warming up the stage for their upcoming performances of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Directed by Charlene Rucker with music direction from Kathleen Warriner, the show follows six young people in the throes of puberty, all entered into the contest for different reasons and with different aspirations.

With that backdrop, it seems fitting that two local middle school teachers should take roles exploring the anxiousness and triumph that is adolescence. "Olive is a shy girl who doesn't have a lot of luck making friends," explains Julie Oosterink, playing the role of Olive Ostrovsky in her first MCP production. "She has a great love for words, loves her dictionary, and finds that there's an order and precision in the dictionary that she doesn't have in other parts of her life."

As newcomer Olive makes her way through the competition, she competes against the politically charged Schwarzy, hippie infused Coneybear, and an allergy-plagued Barfee. Each child spells their words with precision, while interjecting their own personalities, fears, insecurities, and talents.

"He's a perfectionist," explains Tony Barroso, portraying Boy Scout Chip Tolentino. "He appears to have a lot of confidence since he won in Putnam County last year, despite not doing well when he went to nationals."

With each new word, characters reveal more about themselves and their lives, and how the spelling bee means so much more. Unfortunately for Chip, discovering his adolescence "takes an extremely embarrassing turn when a private moment becomes a public one," explain Barroso.
Comedy-lovers can find out who wins The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and work through the woes of adolescence when the show runs March 13-15 and 20-22, with Friday and Saturday shows starting at 8:00pm and Sunday shows starting at 2:30pm at the Franke Center for the Arts in downtown Marshall. This PG-13 show is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $8 for students. Call (269) 781-3335 for ticket information.

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May 04, 2006 NEWSCUES Spring 2006 Edition
March 01, 2005 NEWSCUES Volume 5-1, March 2005


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P.O. Box 102 · Marshall, MI 49068 · 269.781.3335