Tuesday, February 23, 2016


 Not everyone thinks of a dictionary as a best friend, but the si misfit teens competing in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” certainly do as they qualify as therequisite number of eccentrics already in attendance.Two Planks Theater Company will be bringing this delightfulmusical competition to the United Methodist Church515 Cutlers Farm Road, Monroe weekends until Sunday, March 6.
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman, with book by Rachel Sheinkin, music and lyrics by William Finn and additional material by Jay Reiss, “Spelling Bee” oozes with charm as you pick one of the nervous Nellies or Neds to root for as trophy material.
Marcy Park (Amanda Friedman) is the dedicated parochial school entry who speaks five or six or seven languages and determines for herself whether she will win or lose. Chip Tolentino (C.J.Landgrebe) is the perpetual Boy Scout who has a physical problem that erupts on stage and ultimately determines his fate. With a handkerchief and a magic foot, William Barfee (Jason Michael Maur) dances his way into spelling stardom.
Also hot into the competition is Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (Alexandra Petrova) with two pigtails and two papas and a whole lot of pressure. In Olive Ostrovsky (Catherine Gomez), we find a bouncing bundle of enthusiasm who only wishes at least one of her parents were there for encouragement. Sporting a bike helmet and wearing his self-designed clothes, Leaf Coneybear (Nathan Borum) is the home schooled speller. Four lucky volunteers from the audience are also invited on stage to prove their spelling prowess...or not. Apparently Senator Richard Blumenthal was up to the challenge recently.
In addition, Miss Peretti (Priscilla Squiers), Mr. Panch (Michael P. Cartwright) and a felon doing community service named Mitch (Torey Thomas) deliver the words, the rules and the comfort. Susan Halliwell directs this Tony award-winning musical comedy with a fine cast of eager participants who joyfully bring the musical’s charms to life.
For tickets ($20 adults, $18 students & seniors in advance, or $25 and $20 at the door), go online to twoplankstheater.org/buy-tickets/ or email  boxoffice@twoplankstheater.org. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.
This production is dedicated to The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement whose mission is to provide free Social and Emotional Learning curriculum to school districts worldwide.  It embodies the positive goals of courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion in action in light of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  
Grab your dictionary and be prepared to join the p-a-n-d-e-m-o-n-i-u-m when “Spelling Bee” rings your bell.

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