HAMILTON – The Sherburne Music-Theater Society (SMTS) brings the “joy of nerdiness” to The Palace Theater in Hamilton this week with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” musical on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. The ingratiating, thoroughly disarming musical was conceived by Rebecca Feldman with book by Rachel Sheinkin, and music & lyrics by William Finn and won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical in 2005.
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a hilarious tale of overachievers’ angst chronicling the experience of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. Overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, the six young people learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.
There’s the sweet, shy Olive Ostrovsky (Caitlin Weinell), whose best friend is the dictionary since her mother is in an ashram in India and her father works all the time. Last year’s winner, Chip Tolentino (Devin Miller) is back, but finds concentrating on spelling a problem as puberty hits at an inopportune moment. Marcy Park (Emilee Smith) is the classic overachiever, who speaks six languages, plays several instruments and is All-American in hockey, but is tired of always winning. Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (Maisy French) is socially and politically outspoken and is driven by her two dads, one of whom will stop at nothing to help her win. The home-schooled son of former hippies, Leaf Coneybear (Alex Rodriguez) got into the competition on a lark; he makes his own clothes and seems to enjoy himself at the bee. William Barfee (Craig Natoli) was a finalist last year and had to be eliminated due to an allergic reaction to peanuts, but he’s back for vindication using his famous “Magic Foot” method for spelling. Also on stage are three adults who are in charge of making the spelling bee run smoothly. Rona Lisa Peretti (Haley Muth) is a former champion and the returning moderator and mother hen. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and helps drive it forward. Vice Principal Panch (Ed Rigano) has returned to the bee after a five year absence following an unexplained “incident.” He delivers definitions of the words to be spelled and uses them hilariously in a sentence. Mitch Mahoney (Tom Lemery) is the Comfort Counselor who is performing his community service at the bee by dispensing a juice box and a hug to the losers and wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better. The show is directed by Colleen Law-Tefft with Michael Moren as music director.
Tickets are $12 advance/ $14 at door. You may purchase advance sale at Service Pharmacy in Sherburne. To reserve tickets, please call The Palace Theater in Hamilton at (315) 824-1420.
Sherburne Music-Theater Society is an award winning community theatre whose dedication to excellence, while providing an opportunity for talented local thespians and musicians to utilize their skills has provided many audiences with memorable performances and statewide recognition. SMTS is a member of the Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS) and the American Association of Community Theatres (AACT). For more information, see www.sherburnemusictheater.org.