“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” box office opens today

Kim Kadrmas, Reporter

Each year Fargo North’s Theater Department puts on a musical during the first semester. This fall, students are performing the musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee based on a play by Rebecca Feldman. This show centers around a fictional spelling bee set at Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky teens compete in the Bee, run by two equally quirky adults.
“The funniest part (of the show) must be when we bring audience members to spell, and they have to follow along with everything happening in the show. They also have to be in one of the dance numbers without knowing any choreography,” said junior Izzy Haugen, who plays Olive’s Mom and Marcy’s Mom.
All the students involved in this production have been working long hours to make this an amazing show. They started with auditions on September 16 and have been rehearsing for about a month and a half now.
At the end of September, the musical pit had auditions. Compared to Newsies last year, this pit is about a third of the size, with each instrument part only played by one student. Senior Philip Dowdell is the synthesizer pianist for the show. He described the music as light-hearted and playful, but sometimes a little over the top. In October, the pit members began practicing a few times a week for an hour and a half. They also had longer rehearsals during the fall break which were roughly four hours. As the show dates come closer, the rehearsals for both pit and cast become longer.
“Our longer rehearsals start during Sitzprobe. Sitzprobe is when the pit rehearses with the cast.” said junior Riley Johnson, who plays drums for pit.
Sitzprobe is a German word meaning “seated rehearsal.” This is the first time the cast and the pit practice together, and it sometimes goes amazing or can be very bad.
After Sitzprobe, the rehearsals become longer and longer. There is one all-day rehearsal the Saturday before they perform, and then every other rehearsal is about five hours.
“The rehearsal process can be pretty rigorous. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make a production successful, however we have lots of fun during rehearsals!” exclaimed Senior Macky Conlin, who plays Marcy Parks.
All their hard work and time put into this show was done with a purpose. What co-directors Rachel and Tom Gillen hope the audience will get out of this show is the relationships that are formed by the contestants. They start as competitors and end up finding friendship.
“There’s a beauty in coming in second place,” said Mr. Gillen.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will be performed four times at North. The cast and pit will both be on stage Nov. 21-23 at 7pm, and Nov. 24 at 2pm. Everyone is very excited to perform and see all their hard work pay off. You can preorder your tickets starting today at fargo.k12.nd.us/boxoffice. Hope to see you there!