The Antrim Players present “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

BY GEORGINA CASAZZA

WESLEY HILLS – The Antrim Players present “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” written by Rachel Sheinkin with music and lyrics by William Finn as they start off their 82nd sensational season. Directed by Anthony Bragaglia and produced by Doreen DiBenedetto and Kim Farewell, “Spelling Bee” is a fun musical comedy that the whole family can enjoy.

The story revolves around six eclectic and very different prepubescent children as they all vie for the same crown – Spelling Bee Champion. But who will take the coveted title? According to Bragaglia, “Spelling Bee is a laugh a minute reminder of the trials of being young and dealing with the pressure of expectations.”

The Antrim Players took a very interesting approach with their characters, each with such precision that audience members could not stop laughing. The idea of having grown adults play young children, themes of sexual awakening and raging hormones, and topping it off with competition is a recipe for comedic success.

While every student had their own fun story and quirks, the standout is by far William Barfee. William has a host of health problems, but a lot to prove. He is noticed on the spelling circuit for his interesting technique – spelling words with one foot on the floor. Taken out of the competition last year for an ill-timed allergic reaction, he is here for vindication.

Barfee is played by North Rockland alum, Nicholas Culver, who has been acting in the area for over 17 years. Culver is a founding member of the Rockland Theatre Company, a founding member of Little Radical Theatrics and served as Director, Technical Director and Co-Producer for over 14 productions with RCT Kids Program. With an extensive theatrical resume, Culver is a fixture in the Rockland County theatre community. His interpretation of William Barfee made it seem as if the role was written specifically for him. Carrying the show on his back, his is a performance you won’t want to miss.

It is also important to note that the show includes a lot of improv, and pulls multiple audience members onto the stage to be included in the spelling bee. While it seems that these audience members are pre-picked before the beginning of the show, you may want to touch up on your sight words before attending.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will run at The Antrim Playhouse through November 4. For more tickets and more information visit www.antrimplayhouse.com or call 845-354-9503

ADDITIONAL CAST/CREW: Dominique Alvarado, Marcy Parks; Tom Kiely, Leaf Coneybear; Kaitlyn Kozinski, Olive/Choreographer; Joseph Lawliss, Mitch Mahoney; Des Lombardo, Chip Tolentino; James Lugo, Panch; NJ Pfautsch, Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre; Danielle Young, Rona Perretti; Danielle Angelli, Stage Manager; Pat Ebner, Costumes; Doug Feig, Percussion; Helen Konrad, Keyboard; David W. Julin, Set Design; Allan Seward, Lighting Design; Genie Munro, Lobby Board; Jesse Onderdonk, Set Builder.