A talented cast of students will be spelling up a storm at Genesis Theatre next week.
Delta Secondary presents the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee April 10 to 13. There will be shows each night at 7 p.m. as well as two elementary school matinees.
The Tony Award-winning musical-comedy centers on a spelling bee set in the geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the bee, run by three equally quirky grown-ups.
The cast of 30 in grades 8 to 12 is supported by a 20-person crew, according to DSS music teacher and show director Rebecca Salton.
“The music in the play is very complicated with really intense choreography,” said Salton. “The reason we chose this is because it follows a group of unique, eclectic pre-teens and they are very unique personalities in a spelling bee with all unique stories. It gives our students a chance to try characters with different backgrounds, varieties and are quirky to play.”
All the students in the production take Theatre Company Block X – a course at the school – in which the cast is assessed in the areas of vocals, choreography and more.
“This is a great opportunity for students of all ages to work together. We rehearse after school for about five hours a week and now we are about 12 hours a week as we get closer to the show,” said Salton.
When the Optimist dropped by the theatre to check out a rehearsal just prior to the two-week spring break, Salton said she was proud of the cast and its progress.
“We are in a really great place. Often times we find ourselves piecing together stuff at the very last minute – even the week before or the week of the show – but we are in a place now where we can just tweak things,” she said. “Take the ideas, the blocking, choreography and make it better.
“These students are all really talented. South Delta – Ladner and Tsawwassen – is a community of singers and dancers and they have a lot of opportunities through their dance studios, through local theatre companies where they are training elsewhere as well. I’m very lucky to have that support.”
She said musicals have been very well received by the community and she hopes that will hold true once again with this production.
“I’ve wanted to do Putnam County Spelling Bee for about six years now, but it is all about timing and waiting for the right kids to fill these very unique characters,” she said. “They are tricky to play and finding their own take on these characters has been very neat to watch. These kids love what they do. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to get to watch these kids love what they love to do.”
Tickets for the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are $15.