Playshop cast young at heart in ‘Spelling Bee’

Contributing Writer
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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is the first musical produced by the Playshop Theater in four years and will be the first ever in the new Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre. The performance is a modern musical that follows the lives of six adolescents as they compete for a chance to go to the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

The show will be presented in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 17-19. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, November 13 at 2:30 p.m.

Director Mark Cosdon describes the emotions evident in his most recent show.

“It captures all the awkwardness of youngsters in an agonizingly funny and truthful way,” he said. He went on to explain that each night a guest speller from the audience would be invited on stage to compete with the other spellers.

Colleen McCaughey, ‘13, explained the uniqueness of the cast’s portrayal of a group of elementary school students..

“It’s a new concept because you have adults playing children on a stage,” she said.

Six of the cast members are first year students at Allegheny and all of the cast members have yet to see a musical produced.

“The fact that Allegheny hasn’t done a musical in four years presented a bigger challenge to us because we all kind of had to learn how to do it together,” McCaughey said.

The actors are working together with a director, music director and choreographer. They are also singing alongside a live pit orchestra hidden behind the stage.

“It’s so hard to communicate with so many people ” said Shannon Reilly, stage director. She went on to add that the collaboration has been very successful. She’s hoping that this success will lead to more collaboration in the future. McCaughey agreed, saying the biggest challenge is how many more elements are involved in a musical. Both Reilly and McCaughey agreed that seeing it all come together has been very rewarding.

“Just having everyone come together, finally, and creating the show; having the actors perform the show with all the lights and the music and their costumes, the final product that everyone else will see is so exciting to see it all come together.”