Members of the Leawood Stage Company ham it up during rehearsal of the upcoming 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Photo credit Leawood Stage Company

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee takes to Avila’s new stage

“The fun of the show is seeing the competition through the eyes of a middle schooler.”

By Larry Hightower

The Leawood Stage Company is presenting the musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, on the weekend of November 4 and  13th at the Black Box Theater inside the newly expanded Goppert Performing Arts Center on the Avila University campus, 119th and  Wornall Rd. 

The play  won a Tony and a Drama Desk award on Broadway in 2005. This two-act play features the talent of nine area adult actors, with five playing multiple roles. At face value, the play recognizes the pressures on six eclectic tweens who are competing for the prestigious championship. 

Between spellings, the challenges and quirks of all characters are exposed including students and equally offbeat adults who have their own issues. Shared “inner dialogues” reveal deep insight into the characters’ personal lives. Their inner thoughts are poignant, profound, occasionally profane (equivalent to PG-13 rating) and hilarious.  

April Bishop, the artistic director with the Leawood Stage Company says, “It is a witty, fast-paced show. Our cast has amazing voices. The fun of the show is seeing the competition through the eyes of a middle schooler. Spelling Bee stirs memories of nervous moments at that age and makes each of the ’kids’ very relatable.”

 The Leawood Stage Company has been delivering theatrical productions, educational programs and other events since 1998. Live virtual performances of Much Ado About Nothing, and The Importance of Being Earnest are presented on their website.  In July they presented Seussical—The Musical. Next spring, they plan to present, The Drowsy Chauffeur, a rollicking sendup of the jazz age. 

Show dates are at 7:30 p.m. on November 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th, 12th and 13th. Matinee performances at 2:00 p.m. on November 7th and 11th. Tickets prices are $18 or $20. Tickets and additional information are available at Per city ordinance, masks must be worn inside the building. 

As well as patrons, volunteers are the lifeblood of community theatre. LSC relies on dedicated actors, musicians, backstage crew and front of house staff. Information on their website advises how volunteers can get involved in future productions. Be advised, you might be bitten by the acting bug!

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