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Review: AKEELAH AND THE BEE at Coterie Theatre

Review: AKEELAH AND THE BEE at Coterie Theatre

TRULY A CHAMPION AT THE COTERIE

Review: AKEELAH AND THE BEE at Coterie Theatre How do you spell winner? A-K-E-E-L-A-H because that's what The Coterie Theatre has in their production of AKEELAH AND THE BEE, now playing at the theater located in Crown Center. AKEELAH AND THE BEE written by Cheryl West is based on the award-winning film starring Laurence Fishburne with a screenplay by Doug Atchison.

AKEELAH AND THE BEE, directed by Teresa Leggard, is the story of Akeelah a young black girl growing up in South Chicago, who has a natural ability to spell. She is encouraged by her teacher to enter the school spelling bee, even though she knows that she will be teased and bullied by other members of her class. She must prove to Dr. Larabee that she is serious about winning the bee and eventually going to Washington, D.C. for the national bee competition.

Review: AKEELAH AND THE BEE at Coterie Theatre ALEELAH AND THE BEE features Anjaneé Canady as Akeelah. Anjaneé delivers a wonderful performance in the starring role. This production is her main stage debut with The Coterie, where she has been taking performance classes for years. She has become part of The Coterie's Masterclasses and works with The Coterie's Young Playwrights Festival.

Walter Coppage, one of my favorite actors in Kansas City, is as always outstanding in hisReview: AKEELAH AND THE BEE at Coterie Theatre role as Dr. Larabee. Regardless of what characters I've seen Coppage play, I've never been even slightly disappointed in his performance. He is what acting is all about, with one exceptional performance after another. He did his first performance with The Coterie over 25 years ago in the 1993 production of MY CHILDREN! MY AFRICA.

Supporting actors SyKnese Fields as Gail, James Hawkins as Reggie, and Alexandria Radford as Georgia/Snorting Girl all give excellent performances. Cynthia Hardeman, Tahraji Milsap, Ai Vy Bui, Thomas Tong, Robin Robles, Elizabeth Breshears, Eric Palmquist, and JT Nagle appear in the production. I was later told that AKEELAH AND THE BEE had the largest number of understudies of any production by The Coterie.

AKEELAH AND THE BEE is yet another Coterie production that should not be missed. AKEELAH runs through October 16. Purchase tickets online at www.thecoterie.org.

Photos by Jim Vaiknoras and courtesy of The Coterie Theatre


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