Cast to “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

September 19, 2012

VICTORY TOWNSHIP – West Shore Community College announces its cast for the upcoming musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

This musical has been seen in countless productions at regional theaters all over the country ever since its successful Broadway and off-Broadway, says director Rick Plummer.  “This is a tremendous cast and an equally phenomenal production team,” he adds.
Cast as the junior high school spellers are Abbie Finner, Manistee High School student and featured actor and dancer in many area musicals, as Logainne-Schwartzandgrubennaire.  She has two fathers–ergo, her combined last name–and she is politically aware and possesses a keen sense of justice.

WSCC Performing Arts Scholarship student Ian Britz will play Leaf Coneybear.  Leaf has severe A.D.D., and wears a protective helmet, because his mom forces him to wear it.    Manistee resident Jeremy Engwall, also a WSCC Performing Arts Scholarship student, is cast as William Barfee.  Young Mr. Barfee has a host of health problems and is a bully.  Jeremy was recently featured as the Cowardly Lion in WSCC’s hit summer musical, “The Wizard of Oz.”

Manistee native Lindsay Roberts, who was also in WSCC’s “The Wizard of Oz” as Glenda the Good Witch, plays Marcy Park.  Marcy is a Preppie type, speaks six languages, and is the ultimate over-achiever.

Chip Tolentino will be played by WSCC Performing Arts Scholarship student Michael Britz.  Chip has the dubious yet hilarious honor of singing the song–“My Unfortunate Protuberance” which gives the musical its PG-13 rating.

LeAnna Engwall, a Manistee High School student and the daughter of Jeremy Engwall who plays Barfee, is Olive Ostrovsky.  Poor Olive is an only child of often-absent parents.  She spends a good deal of time all alone and simply adores words.

Manistee resident and former WSCC student Kathleen Dillon plays Rona Lisa Perretti, the long-time spelling bee hostess.  Rona sports pageant “big hair” and a big love for the Bee.        WSCC Performing Arts Scholarship student Joe Clark is cast as Vice Principal Douglas Panch, the hopelessly ineffectual school administrator with a checkered personal past.

Kevin Knudsen is cast as Mitch Mahoney, a troubled young man who is performing his community service sentence as the Bee’s “comfort counselor.”

Ernie Sowdy rounds out the cast as Lindohn Lipshitz, a teen who plays various dads and siblings of spellers during the course of memory flashbacks in the Bee.

Ted Malt, newly appointed WSCC Associate Professor of Music, is the musical director and orchestra conductor for the production, and Scott Emelander, a WSCC adjunct professor directing the college’s show choir—The Collegiates—and the choral director from Shelby High School, is the production’s vocal coach.  Jamie Pepples is the production’s accompanist.

“Ted has assembled a stunning orchestra of talented musicians, and this musical team is, without question, the finest group of artists I have ever worked with in 17 years here at the college,” claims Plummer.

John Bell is the production’s scenic designer, Emmet Reimer is the lighting designer, Ashley Seabolt is the stage manager, Christopher Seabolt is the assistant stage manager, Glenda Finner is the props mistress, Alex Wolkow is the production’s sound designer, and Amanda Kaatz is the college’s technical director and resident lighting designer.

The musical centers on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School.  Six quirky adolescents compete in the Bee, run by three equally-quirky grown-ups. An unusual and hilarious aspect of the show is that four real audience members are selected each performance and invited onstage to compete alongside the six young characters from the cast.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” plays at the historic Ramsdell Theatre as a co-production of the Manistee Civic Players and the WSCC Performing Arts Series.  The production runs October 12-13; 19-20 at 7:30 p.m., and on October 14 and 21, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by stopping by the college box office, Monday, Wednesday, Friday,  9 a.m.-1 p.m., or Tuesday, Thursday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., or by calling the college box office at 231-843-5507 ; or  by calling MyTickets toll-free at 1-800-836-0717 (9 a.m.—5 p.m.).

The Ramsdell Theatre Box Office will open Wed., Oct. 10, at 12:00 p.m. for at-the-window sales.  Beginning on October 10, tickets may also be reserved by calling the Ramsdell Theatre box office at 231-723-9948.

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