Next Up at Center for the Arts: THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S and H-E-A-R-T-W-A-R-M-I-N-G are just two of the words audiences will learn how to spell after experiencing the Tony Award-winning musical comedy hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - onstage April 26-May 5 at Murfreesboro's Center for the Arts.
Featuring a collection of U-N-I-Q-U-E and U-N-F-O-R-G-E-T-T-A-B-L-E characters, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee introduces audiences to the socially awkward adolescents seeking fame and notoriety, after a fashion, in the annual spelling competition hosted by a local realtor whose own spelling championship remains the high point on her resume and a down-at-heels assistant principal seeking his own form of validation in the process.
CFTA's production, directed by Rachel Jones, features a cast six college students - six from Middle Tennessee State University and six from Belmont University - to bring the characters to life onstage. Jones, who previously directed the First Night Award-nominated Heathers the Musical at the Center in 2018 and Ragtime in 2017, is excited for everyone to see this show.
"Spelling Bee is so incredibly fun, and our cast is made up of the most amazing storytellers," Jones says. "The talent level is outstanding, and we can't wait to showcase this story on the CFTA stage. You don't want to miss this show!"
Spelling Bee centers around six competitors, portrayed by adults, as they compete for the first-place trophy and a $200 cash prize while dealing with personal dilemmas and sharing about their lives outside of the spelling bee. Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (Virginia Tipps, MTSU student), has two overbearing fathers who stress her out. Leaf Coneybear (Brooks Bennett, Belmont student), believes he's dumb because that's what his family always tells him. Olive Ostrovsky (Melissa Tormene, Belmont student), is shy and reserved as a result of her largely absent parents. William Barfée (Josh Smith, MTSU student) is extremely confident in his spelling abilities and uses an unusual technique to spell out words. Marcy Park (Tori Peterson, MTSU student) is a brilliant, overachieving contestant who is tired of always being good at everything. And Chip Tolentino (Riley Henderson, Belmont student) is easily distracted by an attractive audience member which leads to an unfortunate circumstance.
The spelling bee tweens work their way through a series of words as they disclose hilarious and touching stories from their home lives and do everything they can to avoid hearing the dreaded "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter but only one speller will take home the coveted grand prize trophy.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, complete with audience members chosen to join the Spelling Bee, is "a charming story of fun, heartbreak and triumph." It's best described as an interactive, fast-paced and hilarious story set to music is all about learning that winning - and losing - isn't everything.
Tickets start at $14 and are currently on sale at boroarts.org, by calling (615) 904-2787, or at the Center for the Arts Box Office, 110 West College Street, in downtown Murfreesboro.