Chattanooga Now Spellbinding comedy: Artistic Civic Theatre opens 'Putnam County Spelling Bee' on Thursday

Chattanooga Now Spellbinding comedy: Artistic Civic Theatre opens 'Putnam County Spelling Bee' on Thursday

March 13th, 2019 by Staff Report in Chattanooga Now - Art

Adults play the middle-school spelling bee competitors. In front is Caleb Satterfield. In back, from left, are Robert Southerland, Ashlyn Barnett, Mary Mae Sims and Adam Stark.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

› What: “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

› Where: Artistic Civic Theatre, 907 Gaston St., Dalton, Georgia

› When: 8 p.m. March 14-16, 20, 22-23; 2 p.m. March 17

› Admission: $15 adults, $13 ages 55 and up, $11 students; ACT members $2 less at each level

› For more information: actdalton.org

How do you spell hilarious? "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

Artistic Civic Theatre will open the comedy Thursday, March 14, for seven performances over two weekends in Dalton, Georgia.

Conceived as an improvisational piece by Rebecca Feldman (with additional material by Jay Reiss), the witty, effortless humor in the Tony Award-winning book by Rachel Sheinkin, combined with clever, vibrant music and lyrics by William Finn, make "The Bee" a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Mac McLawhorn plays spelling bee judge Douglas Panch and Cassie Richardson is cast as Rona Lisa Peretti, spelling bee moderator.

Mac McLawhorn plays spelling bee judge Douglas Panch...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Set in a school gym, six quirky middle-school students battle it out in the ultimate spelling championship. The tweens (all played by adults) are a diverse group of social misfits. Through a hilarious series of situational antics, wildly varying spelling tasks, awkward personal interactions and entertaining songs, the characters learn that far more important than winning the competition is what they both discover about themselves.

The competitors include various stereotypical archetypes: current champ Chip Tolentino (Adam Stark), classic overachiever Marcy Park (Joelle Boykin), unfortunately named and overly pompous William Barfee (Robert Southerland), home-schooled and hyperactive Leaf Coneybear (Caleb Satterfield), desperate-to-impress Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (Ashlynn Barnett), and shy newcomer Olive Ostrovsky (Mary Mae Sims).

Equally entertaining adult characters round out the cast. Returning moderator and former bee winner Rona Lisa Peretti is played by Cassie Richardson. Mac MacLawhorn plays vice principal and returning judge Douglas Panch after a bee "incident" five years previously. Mark Waters is ex-convict-turned-comfort-counselor Mitch Mahoney.

The comedy is directed by Jessica Brinkley with musical direction by Adam Burnette and choreography by Ashlynn Barnett.

Audiences are advised that even though the humor is all about adolescent awkwardness, this production is for mature audiences and contains some adult language

Tickets may be purchased at ACTDalton.org, by clicking the Book Now icon on ACT's Facebook page or by calling 706-278-4796.