COMING TO SIERRA MADRE
PLAYHOUSE; NOW OPEN
By Judy Shields
Photo Credit: John Dlugolecki
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 7/21/16 – The Hollywood Times will be amongst the audience at the Sierra Madre Playhouse this Friday night, so why not plan to take a short drive via the 210 freeway East and be part of this long running comedy musical.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opens July 8 at Sierra Madre Playhouse, scheduled to run through August 21.
With its combination of great songs, smarts and competitive spirit in a show with something for young and old alike, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Get your tickets early and avoid the rush.
The musical delivers on its title: the focus of its story is on a spelling contest. Young regional winners hope to qualify for the National Bee and a shot at further prizes and glory. To get into the local bee, you’ve got to have some smarts. So this unusual musical celebrates the intelligence of young people.
The contestants are a mixed bunch: A chunky, defensively antagonistic boy who uses his foot to spell; a young girl whose mother is an ocean away; a boy who consistently doubts his own intelligence and self-worth; a girl from a family of overachievers who wishes that she wasn’t expected to be perfect; the daughter of two fussy gay dads; and more.
There’s also an interesting wrinkle. Following the model of the original Broadway production, several people will be pulled from the audience and asked to participate in the contest.
Who will be the winner? Who will go on to represent Putnam County in the National Bee for more renown and bigger prizes? As with other competitions, there will be the agony of defeat, but also the thrill of victory.
The book is by Rachel Sheinkin, whose other musicals include Little House on the Prairie, Striking 12, and Serenade. Music and lyrics are by William Finn, whose many, many musical credits include March of the Falsettos, Make Me A Song, In Trousers, Sizzle, Elegies, much more.
The Sierra Madre Playhouse production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is directed by Robert Marra, who helmed the Playhouse’s biggest hit ever, Always…Patsy Cline. Joe Lawrence is Spelling Bee’s musical director, with set and lighting design by Jeff Cason, costume design by A. Jeffrey Schoenberg, sound design by Cricket Myers, and properties by Joanne McGee Lamb.
Mr. Marra’s cast includes (in alphabetical order) Joey Acuna Jr., Gina D’Acciaro, Jaq Galliano, Cristina Gerla, Hannah Leventhal, Stanton Morales, Robert Parkison, Joy Regullano and Richard Van Slyke.
John Sparks is the producer and Estelle Campbell and Christian Lebano are executive producers.
Mr. Lebano states, “Finding just the right property for our summer musical slot was not easy. I was looking for something light and fun, that the entire family could come to – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is just right for our audiences and a perfect, good-time musical. Can you spell – H I L A R I O U S! You will after seeing this show.”
Sierra Madre Playhouse Artistic Director: Christian Lebano. Managing director: Estelle Campbell. Stage manager: Kristin Bolinski. Assistant stage manager: Emily Hopfauf.
Lobby displays and special events connected with the show will be curated by Diane Siegel.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The hit musical. Book by Rachel Sheinkin. Lyrics by William Finn. Directed by Robert Marra. Musical director: Joe Lawrence. Producer: John Sparks. Executive producers: Christian Lebano and Estelle Campbell. Presented by Sierra Madre Playhouse. July 8- August 21, 2016. Fri. & Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 2:30.
Tickets will be on sale at (626) 355-4318 or at www.sierramadreplayhouse.org . Ticket prices will be $35, seniors $32, youth $25, and children 12 and under at $20.
Sierra Madre Playhouse is located at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024, just east of Pasadena. There is ample free parking behind the Playhouse, with several dining destinations just steps away.
Hope to see you there!