The Washington Times-Herald

January 23, 2013

Spelling bee becomes setting of hilarious WHS musical

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — Starting Thursday, the Washington High School auditorium will be transformed into a small midwestern middle school spelling bee.

There’s nothing regular about this spelling bee. Audiences will find that out quickly as they will laugh and even act along with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” this year’s WHS musical. The musical continues through the weekend.

Putnam County is a Tony-award winning musical of six adolescent outsiders looking to win the “spelling championship of a lifetime.”

WHS Choral Director Scott Griffith said the musical was chosen for its hilarity. He had seen Putnam County performed at other locations and loved the comedy.

“I saw it this summer and I thought we had to do this,” Griffith said. “It is real funny.”

The bee, will chronicle these children who all have designs on the title, but all have hilarious back stories and quirks that will keep the audience rolling with laughter.

The experiences will show, according to a release, “that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser in life.”

Unlike many musicals the high school has performed, Putnam County will take an improvisational form as audience members will become part of the cast.

Each night can be different, as willing participants are chosen at random.

“We will call those people up on stage, and they will spell,” Griffith said. “If they do well, they will continue on.”

But Putnam County is not really for kids. It has been given a “PG-13” rating by the organizers for its adult themes.

The students in the musical are: Summer Alvey, Clay Hatton, John Cline, Jalissa Barley, Ashlyn Stoll, Natalya Meinhart, Michael Ramsey, Daniel Moore and Jorrin Nolan. Griffith said the cast has really taken to the production through rehersals the past two months.

“Because the musical is so quriky, it’s unpredictable, the kids really have enjoyed that aspect of it,” Griffith said. 

The musical starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $5 at the door.