A Spelling Bee to Remember


Collier Zug, Staff Writer

This year has been really strange. With all the crazy stuff that’s going on, the theater department decided that there needed to be a change for the spring musical. Obviously, unlike in previous years, the musical couldn’t be inside, so it was moved outdoors to the football field. A play without any set was picked as well, shaking up the repertoire of the musical. Thus arrived the spring musical this year; the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; a comedy with lots of dancing, singing, and very interesting scenes. 

This musical is very much in new territory for everyone involved. For one, it is completely bare of any set. The only noticeable furniture is the chairs and tables scattered across the ‘stage’. “Seeing it outside, it’s a whole different backdrop. We do have a set, but it’s not a traditional set,” said Mrs. McManus, the current 11th grade English teacher and director of the show. It’s an interesting new opportunity for the actors and singers to express themselves without the help of curtains and a “backstage.” This provides the challenge for the cast to always be in character and to act like they were seeing the events unfold for the first time. “It was interesting to have it outside. It was a lot more casual,” noted Devin Wallace ‘24, an audience member. 

With the rehearsals being both inside and outside, the spaces needed a lot of setup and had a lot of moving parts, which made things more challenging. Therefore, two branches of the school decided to team up for this musical; the music department, and the “wonderful athletics department. They were so helpful in giving us access to the field, helping with the bleachers and the set pieces that we do have like the soccer goal.” said McManus. Every rehearsal the cast had to lug chairs, papers, and assorted props from the meeting, producing the need for strong upper-body strength, which thankfully most of them had. 

Due to the COVID pandemic still happening, much to our chagrin, the restrictions, and limits to what the team could accomplish were also challenging. “Everybody is singing in masks, which is very different, and everyone is acting in masks as well,” said McManus. The crew accommodated for the lack of facial expression and looks by giving off a more physically comedic aura.

As with most things, the people who you interact with during events shape your experiences. This case is no different. “I think the biggest thing about this cast was the fact that everyone was so supportive of each other no matter what,” said Gianna Martinelli ‘22. They worked together and made an environment that was encouraging and fun. “especially because we did have some unexpected issues happen in our performances, but we were able to work together and overcome them!” said Gianna. The musical group was extremely collaborative. The cast made the experience a wholesome event that lifts everybody up, and channeled their energy into creating beautiful art.