Outdoor Performance Spells Success for Spring Musical


Dylan Conover, Senior Editor

On April 29th and 30th, 2021, Platteview High School held the annual spring musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, at SumTur Amphitheater. The outdoor setting was new for the musical, typically held at the high school auditorium, but it allowed the cast to follow safety protocols and for the audience to social distance comfortably. As an added bonus, the warm Spring weather gave the musical a perfect setting for the evening.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is the story of the county’s annual spelling competition. The bee starred Kyley Bishop (12) as Rona Lisa Peretti, the moderator; Tyler Kraus (12) as Vice Principal Doulgas Panch;  Ashton Lagasse (11) as Chip Tolentino, defending spelling bee champ; Paige Fritz (10) as Logainne SchwarzandGrubenierre; Ryan Tolliver (12) as William Barfee; Lauren Roberts (10) as Olive Otrovsky; John Kinney (12) as Leaf Coneybear; Ella Ferguson (11) as Marcy Park; and Makenna Frank (12) as Mitch Mahoney, the so-called comfort counselor. The host of dynamic characters turned the bee into much more than a competition.

One special part of the musical is that it draws a few competitors from the audience. Eventually, however, the audience members were dismissed from the bee, either by forced elimination or when given words like “lysergic acid diethylamide.” The cast sang “Pandemonium,” complaining about the luck of the draw- some would get words like “cow” while others had to spell “qaimaqam.” 

As spellers are called up, they break into song about their life stories. Chip falls in love with Leaf’s sister Marigold, William sings about his magic foot that aids his spelling, Barfee and Olive begin to develop an attraction to each other, and Marcy describes her ability to speak 6 languages, along with her host of other talents.

Chip is the first lead to get out of the competition, lamenting his poor luck, but he is quickly joined by Leaf. Marcy, who placed 6th in the national spelling bee the year before, is given “camouflage.” She exclaims, “Dear Jesus, can’t you come up with a harder word than that?” Thereupon, Jesus and two angels appear to Marcy and explain that she is in control of her own life. She intentionally misspells the word, embracing her newfound freedom.

Full of witty lines and clever lyrics, The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee keeps the audience on its toes. Because of safety restrictions, the cast and ensemble numbers were low, and there wasn’t the traditional full chorus, meaning that the full force of the music was not as easily conveyed. Because of the new outdoor environment, there were occasional issues with volume. Overall, however, the music was entertaining and energetic, and the entire production was a rousing, hilarious success.