November 2012

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - Hilton Head Prep Presents Tony Award-Winning Musical Comedy

Author: Special to C2 Magazine | Photographer: Photography by Anne

The competition is intense. The words are hilarious. And the kids are unique. So let the games begin! For its fall musical production, the Hilton Head Preparatory School Performing Arts Department is proud to present the uproariously funny 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

This Tony Award-winning hit musical ran on Broadway for nearly 1,200 performances. The entertaining musical comedy celebrates the mania of competition as the funniest most lovable and sardonically nerdy contestants compete for the Spelling Bee title. Six wacky but loquacious misfits with steely ambition strive to define themselves apart from their crazy families as they confront the pitfalls of puberty. The quirky mix of determined youngsters, including sheepish Leaf Coneybear, nasally challenged yet smug and confident William Barfee, and Olive Ostrovsky, a sweet, painfully shy girl whose absent mother is on a spiritual quest, discover themselves as they vie for the ultimate prize in this witty and wise hit about coming of age on stage!

The show centers around a fictional spelling bee set in Putnam County, New York where six kids face off in the battle of their lives. Joined by four “guest” spellers selected from the audience at each performance, the characters participate in an actual spelling bee from start to finish. By bringing unrehearsed members of the audience into the show, the actors have to be ready to react to whatever happens. Let the good-byes begin as the words become more difficult.

“We are thrilled to have a surprise ‘speller’ fill one of the ‘hot’ seats at each performance, and we promise, they will be just as unprepared as the other audience spellers. This is what theater is all about,” said Benjamin Wolfe, director of performing arts at Hilton Head Prep. “Because of the improvisational element, the show will be different each performance, so we are certain the audience will want to see it more than once. It also prepares the student actors for the unpredictability of live performance, teaching them how to react in character as they help the guest spellers through the show.”

The successfully executed productions at Hilton Head Preparatory School evolve from much hard work on the part of everyone involved. Students often rehearse six nights a week in preparation, while students in the technical theatre class at Prep design and build the intricately crafted sets that fill the vast space of Hilton Head High’s Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPAC). A well-trained crew mans the technical aspects of the show from calling more than 300 light cues to ensuring the production runs like a well-oiled machine. “It’s a small cast and crew, and we are really proud to have our orchestra drawn from members of the community once again,” Wolfe said. Get ready to spell!

If you go:
What: 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee—the musical
Who: Presented by Hilton Head Preparatory School
Where: Hilton Head High School VPAC
When: Thursday – Saturday November 1, 2, 3, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 4 at 2 p.m.

Tickets go on sale to Arts Guild members on Monday, October 1 and to the general public on Friday, October 12. Tickets can be purchased with a credit card at and will also be available at the door (cash, credit card or check accepted.) $20, adults; $10, students; $15, seniors (60 and older) for the Sunday matinee only. For additional ticket information and group rates (15 or more people), call (404) 538-0333.

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