ShareThis Page

'Bee' spells laughter for Grand audiences

| Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 7:18 a.m.

If the thought of a spelling bee conjures up not-so-pleasant memories, chances are this particular competition will cause you to have a change of heart.

Mon River Arts' production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is guaranteed to have theater-goers laughing. The show continues Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Grand Theatre in Elizabeth, 207 S. Second Ave.

Director Stephen Santa does a wonderful job bringing out the quirkiness of the characters, who are brought to life by a stellar cast. Even the four volunteers from the audience do a great job in their impromptu roles as spelling bee competitors.

The six contestants — Nathan Hough as William Barfee, Mary Johnson Blocher as Marcy Park, Jessica Whittington as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere, Kristin Welch as Olive Ostrovsky, George Heigel as Leaf Coneybear and Rocky Paterra as Chip Tolentino — are amazing. Whether it's Hough with his character's magical foot, Heigel and his character's spelling voice or the all-business mindset of Blocher's character, all performers nail their roles.

While they are busy focusing on their spelling words, they are kept in line by Rob James as Vice Principal Panch and Debbie Boughner as Rona Perretti, who turn in strong performances. Chad Elder is fun as Mitch Mahoney.

Not only is the acting strong, the musical talent of the cast is amazing. Boughner takes center stage in the vocal category on “Rona Moment” and the moving “The I Love You Song,” which also showcases Welch and Elder.

One of the funniest songs is “Chip's Lament” with Paterra in the spotlight, and “Second” is a tender tune featuring Welch and Hough.

“Spelling Bee” is guaranteed to make theater-goers spend a couple hours laughing and having a good time. This is definitely a must-see show. For those who saw it opening weekend, it's a different show each night with new words and new volunteers.

As part of the Day of Giving, anyone who wants to support Mon River Arts can do so on Thursday by calling 412-628-1032 or online at www.monriverarts.org.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1916, or cfrazier@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.