The fourth and final show for the Oklahoma State University Department of Theatre Main Stage Season will be in the Vivia Locke Theatre April 20-24. The production, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, is sure to make you laugh—and you might even get to participate!
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is exactly what you think it is—a spelling bee,” said Mary Mackin, senior Theatre minor. “Throughout the bee, you see characters go through triumphs and personal tragedies; it will make you laugh, cry and everything in between.
This particular production does have some audience participation, so Mackin says to expect the unexpected. “This is a show that can go in many different twists and turns depending on how the spellers do,” Mackin said. “I want the audience to feel like they are a character in the bee,” Cody Finger adds.
Cody Finger, a sophomore Theatre major, said he feels that the show is like a direct conversation with the audience. The characters all make the conversation interesting.
“The characters as they are already written are hilarious, but it is cool to see how the actors bring them to life and find different ways to make them funny,” said Emmie Roy, a Theatre minor and stage manager for the production. “I have watched this every night for six weeks now and I still laugh at it every time.”
Emmie isn’t the only person who attributes the show’s success to the talented cast. Senior Secondary Education major Taylor Allen says, “I've never laughed this much during a rehearsal process before. I'm not afraid to try new things and make mistakes, because my fellow castmates are all so talented that they encourage me to want to be as good as I possibly can.”
Every person working on the production understands that this undertaking requires unwavering commitment. “I wanted to stage manage because I think it is giving me a great opportunity to learn how to manage a large group of people.” Roy said. “I am a very detailed person who loves the theatre with my whole heart, so stage management is the perfect place for me.”
A few of Roy’s responsibilities as the stage manager are to organize the schedules of the cast and crew, send rehearsal reports to the production team, attend production meetings and take notes and most importantly, to make sure the show runs smoothly and safely.
Finger said that the character he is playing has been someone he has wanted to play for a while now. “Leaf Coneybear has been my dream role ever since I heard of the show six years ago and it is so amazing that I have the opportunity to play him,” Finger said. “I’m looking forward to being able to portray him on stage and I’m looking forward to OSU putting on an amazing production that the audience will love.”
Kelton Neals, a sophomore Theatre major, agreed that this production has had a huge impact on his education as an actor. “Stepping into the role of William Barfeé, I have learned a lot about myself and my own abilities. Barfeé has been such a fun character to play and he has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and explore a different life on the stage.”
You last saw Mackin in last semester’s production of What I Did Last Summer. This is her last show with OSU Theatre, and she said she gets emotional at times.
“There are times when I think about this being the last time I get to perform here at OSU and I instantly get emotional,” Mackin said. “I am trying to enjoy every second of this process and not take any of it for granted.” Allen shares this sentiment. “This show means the world to me,” she said. “Since I am a senior, it is my last chance to perform on the OSU stage and I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it. I could not be happier to be experiencing this particular show with this particular cast as my final production.”
The cast includes three seniors: Allen, Mackin, and Paul Knapp, a Theatre major who appeared as the Emcee in OSU’s last musical, Cabaret. A veteran musical theatre actor, Knapp is thrilled to be working on Spelling Bee. “This ensemble cast is packed with incredible talent, and everyone has continued to work very hard to put together an incredible production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Don't miss it!”
Times for the production are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20 through Saturday, April 23 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 24. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $12 general admission. Tickets will be available for purchase online two weeks prior to the show on OSU Marketplace website.