By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
A spelling bee is one of those trials of childhood that tests not only knowledge, but the ability to keep a cool head on stage. Up on the stage is obviously where the next show of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is going to take place.
The Gem Theatre on Main Street in Garden Grove is going to be host to One More Productions’ showing of the play, a 2007 Tony Award winner. The book is by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman and music and lyrics are by William Finn.
In the show, six young people who are approximately middle school age, are competing in the bee. Each of them an outsider in his or her own right, they hope to find something that makes them fit through their experience in the competition.
The show is unique because not only is it relatively new, but it involves a great deal of audience participation. Audience members are interviewed in the lobby beforehand and coordinated to come on stage.
“I really like this show, it has a lot of charm . . . it really is a heartfelt show,” said Matt Takahashi, who plays William Barfee, who Takahashi describes as kind of a “know-it-all” who has a “Magic Foot” that helps him spell.
“Yeah, this show, aside from the personal stories about people, shows that spelling bees are not easy,” said Takahashi.
The show doesn’t just focus on the young contestants though, equally important are the adult organizers of the bee. Rona, played by Adriana Sanchez, is one of three adult characters, and is, as Sanchez puts it, quirky in her own right and still understanding and funny.
“I really like working with these people [the cast] and the quality of the productions,” said Sanchez, who said that in real life, she is not the best speller. However, she keeps a dictionary handy for her everyday life.
Nicole Cassesso, co-owner of OMP and actress, now playing the part of Logainne, said that she and Damien Lorton, co-owner and director of OMP, saw the show not too long ago and decided that they absolutely had to have it on their stage.
As a one act play, it would fit perfectly on the stage, said Cassesso.
“It’s one of those plays that you don’t need to know theater or even love theater to enjoy,” said Cassesso.
The show will be at The Gem Theatre, located at 12852 Main St. in Garden Grove from March 24 to April 17. Tickets are available at the box office for $25, which can be reached at (714) 741-9550 x221 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.