ATCteen Students Launch Season with THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE

ATCteen Students Launch Season with THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE

ATCteen, Arizona Theatre Company's Learning and Education Department-guided program that provides quality theatre arts education, empowers strong leaders and enables students to "explore what they are passionate about," will launch the 2018/19 season with three performances of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday, Jan. 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. in the Arizona Theatre Company Temple Cabaret at the Temple of Music & Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. in Tucson.

Tickets are $10 each for adults and free for youth under 18 and can be purchased through the ATC website at www.arizonatheatre.org.

As with all ATCteen productions, the show's cast and creative team features students from Tucson-area high schools handling all aspects of the show.

"The students' focus during the past two months has been nothing short of spectacular to produce, mount and stage the show," said ATC Education Associate Jasmine Roth. "This is not only the first ATCteen musical, but the largest ATCteen production since the program began in 2016."

The musical comedy, conceived by Rebecca Feldman with a book by Rachel Sheinkin and music and lyrics by William Finn, focuses on a fictional spelling bee at Putnam Valley Middle School where six quirky adolescents compete in a competition run by six quirky adults.

The eclectic group of mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get a juice box. The young, awkward spelling champions learn that winning - and losing - isn't everything.

The show contains some mature themes and is recommended for ages 12 and older.

The original Broadway production earned six Tony Award nominations, winning two, including Best Book. The original Broadway cast recording was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Directed by Neruda Hogrelius of City high School, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee features musical direction by Emily Muirhead of University high School, choreography by Anya Moseke of Tucson High Magnet School, technical direction and scenic design by Rose Donatti of Tucson High Magnet School, costume design by Cassie Miller of Empire High School, lighting design by Danielle Muller of Catalina Foothills High School, and sound design by Emily Murphy and Abby Wood of Catalina Foothills High School. Cipora Cohon, Catalina Foothills High School, is the costume assistant and Roark Polzin and Petra Polzin are set and prop assistants.

The show stars Tristan Acevedo (as Chip Tolentino) - Pima Community College; Julia Snook (as Logainne Schwarzy) - Emily Gray Junior High School; Colin Michieli (as Leaf Coneybear); Amelie Allen (as William Barfee) - Tucson High Magnet School; Chloe Elmer (as Marcy Park)- Ironwood Ridge High School; Deborah Christenson (as Olive Ostrovsky) - Ironwood Ridge High School; Abigail Ford (as Rona Lisa Perretti) - Pima Community College; Aiden Kaczynski (as Mitch Mahoney) - home school; Oskar Anderson (as Vice Principal Douglas Panch) - home school; Odalys Catalan (as Jesus Christ) - Tucson High Magnet School; (Chaya Evans as Schwarzy's parents) - Greenfields School and Odalys Catalan; Rain Bousquet (as Leaf's Mom) - City High School; Megan Arkley (as Olive's Mom) - Marana High School; Stefan Vikingur (as Olive's Dad) - Tucson High Magnet School.

The original Broadway production earned six Tony Award nominations, winning two, including Best Book. The original Broadway cast recording was nominated for a Grammy Award.

For more information, visit www.arizonatheatre.org.

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