Auditions Open for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at the Memorial Opera House

putnam-county-spelling-beeThe Cast: Seeking 9 actors and actresses to fill the following roles:
Rona Lisa Peretti: (Mezzo-Soprano B3 - F5) The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch, who has feelings for her that she most likely does not return. It is implied that she sees much of herself in Olive Ostrovsky. Her favorite moment of the Bee is in the minutes before it starts, when all the children are filled with the joy of competition, before they begin to resent each other. She later declares that she likes how everyone has an equal chance of winning, citing as an example that last year's winner can be this year's loser and vice versa. Another favorite moment is when the last winners go head to head for the top spot because it is so suspenseful and filled with hope. Ms. Peretti herself won the Third Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by spelling "syzygy", which she recounts at the very beginning of the opening number.

Vice Principal Douglas Panch: (Spoken) After five years' absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an "incident" at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in "a better place" now (or so we think), thanks to a high-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.

Mitch Mahoney: (Baritone E4 - A5) The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students.

Olive Ostrovsky: (Mezzo-Soprano B3 - F5) A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. She made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition.

William Morris Barfée: (Tenor E4 - B5) A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts. His famous “Magic Foot” method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy personality. He has an often-mispronounced last name: it is Bar-FAY, not BARF-ee ("there's an accent aigu", he explains with some hostility). He develops a crush on Olive. At the end of the play he wins the spelling bee.

Logainne "Schwarzy" SchwartzandGrubenniere: (Mezzo-Soprano A3 - F5) Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures, with two overbearing gay fathers. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp, and knows she'll return to the bee next year.

Marcy Park: (Mezzo-Soprano C4 - E5) A recent transfer from Virginia, Marcy placed ninth in last year’s nationals. She speaks six languages, is a member of all-American hockey, a championship rugby player, plays Chopin and Mozart on multiple instruments, sleeps only three hours a night, hides in the bathroom cabinet, and is getting very tired of always winning. She is a total over-achiever, and attends a Catholic school called "Our Lady of Intermittent Sorrows." She is also not allowed to cry. She is often portrayed by an Asian-American actress.

Leaf Coneybear: (Tenor A3 - A5) A homeschooler and the second runner-up in his district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark: the winner and first runner-up had to go to the winner’s Bat Mitzvah. Leaf comes from a large family of former hippies and makes his own clothes. He spells words correctly while in a trance. In his song, "I'm Not That Smart", he sings that his family thinks he is "not that smart," but he insinuates that he is merely easily distracted. Most of the words that he is assigned are South American rodents with amusing names.

Charlito "Chip" Tolentino: (Tenor C4 - B5) A Boy Scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title. Relatively social and athletic, as he plays little league, Chip expects things to come easily but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment.

Directed by: Chuck Gessert and Patty Bird

Music Direction by: Sharon Mast Shepard

Audition Dates:
Monday, June 1st at 7pm
Wednesday, June 3rd at 7pm

Callbacks (if needed): Thursday, June 4th at 7pm

Please prepare 16 bars of an upbeat song (preferably not from "Spelling Bee"). Auditionees may be asked to sing and read from the show as well.

The Show:
Friday, July 31, August 7, 15 2015
Saturday, August, 1, 8, 15 2015
Sunday, August 2, 9, 16 2015
Friday & Saturday performances at 8:00 PM Sunday performances at 2:00 PM

H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S! This jubilant musical is about a group of quirky prepubescent overachievers who are pitted against each other in the spelling challenge of a lifetime. They are overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves. Ultimately, the nerdy and the wordy learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser. Infectious songs and a laugh-out-loud script (Tony winner for Best Book) make Spelling Bee a winner!

For further information, please contact Scot MacDonald, Artistic Director at 219.548.9137 x53932 or email at