HENRY — River Valley Players will present “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” Oct. 20, 21, 27 and 28 at St. Mary’s Community Center in Henry.
The productions takes six quirky students (portrayed by adults), three equally strange adults and a few audience members and mixes them together into an E-N-T-E-R-T-A-I-N-I-N-G evening or afternoon.
The 2005 Broadway production was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning for best book and best featured actor. It ran for more than 1,100 performances.
The plot revolves around a spelling bee, but it’s really the story of the insecurities, fears, hopes and stresses propelling the young competitors. One is shy and lonely because her dad’s a workaholic and her mother is away at an ashram, trying to find herself; another believes he’s stupid because his family has told him so often enough; a third is an overachiever and is sick and tired of always being on top.
The competitors include Patrick Russell as Chip Tolentino, Chrissy Gaspardo as Marcy Park, Deanne Crook as Olive Ostrovsky, Donald Knucky Jr. as William Barfee, Derrik Gaspardo as Leaf Coneybear and Aubrey Stiennen as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre.
The “adults” in the show are Gary Talsky as Vice Principal Douglas Panch, the official word reader; Camilla Russell as Rona Lisa Peretti, a former winner who now runs the bee; and George Maxedon as “comfort counselor” Mitch Mahoney.
During each performance, several volunteers from the audience are tapped to become competitors, which can lead to some delightful ad libs.
Tickets are $26.50 and include a meal (salad bar, buffet dinner, dessert and three complimentary beverages) served prior to each performance. On Oct. 20 and 27, the dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21 and 28 are matinees and dinner will be at 12:30 p.m.
For more information, contact Judy at 309-364-3403 or firstname.lastname@example.org.