By Amanda Woo
It’s the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, we feel no animosity.
Contrary to popular belief, the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is not an actual spelling bee. It’s this year’s spring musical. On March 19 to 21, Brooklyn Tech put on another spectacular musical. This year, we were faced with massive budget cuts, two of our backstage managers and their respective wedding plans, and problematic scheduling. Though this intentionally spelled disaster (pun not intended), especially since last year’s production of Hairspray! amazed the crowd with complex stage settings, the cast, band, and stage works prevailed and put on an amazing show for three consecutive days.
The lights dim and the spotlight follows Rona Lisa Peretti (Lexi Murman) as she walks onstage and prepares for the spelling bee. Picking up the trophy, a wave of nostalgia hits her as she remembers her own victory at the 3rd Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with the word “syzygy”.
Each character gets introduced as the musical begins with the song “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Olive Ostrovsky (Felicity Daily) is a shy, sweet girl who always seeks solace from her only friend: the dictionary. Due to her neglectful parents and quiet disposition, Olive can only makes bonds with books. William Barfee (Matthew Mort) is a know-it-all who uses a special technique called the “magic foot” and doesn’t have any real friends, yet unlike Olive, it’s his arrogance that turns people off. Logainne “Schwartzy” Schwartzandgrubenierre (Sandra Kralik) is a politically aware ten-year old who happens to have a lisp, two gay dads (Jackie Bosco and Matthew Holliday), and is the youngest competitor this year. Chip Tolentino (Deidrick McAlmont) was last year’s champ, but this year, he discovers the perks and downfalls of adolescence. Marcy Park (Pauriany Segarra) is a reserved and at times harsh girl who never seems to be satisfied despite her constant success and burdened by the pressures of living up to expectations. Leaf Coneybear (David Raufova) is easily distracted and comes from a large family that has little faith in his academic abilities. Side characters include Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Jorge Lema), who can’t seem to control his anger, Comfort Counselor Mitch Mahoney (Matthew Holliday), who understands the hardships in life and tries to teach the kids that there is more to life than winning or losing the spelling bee, and parents of the spellers, who are all played as alternate roles of the cast.
What makes this musical different from the others is that it pulls audience members onstage to spell. The result? More comedy and mayhem on stage. For Thursday’s show, Ms. Malone, Coach McKenna, Ms. O’Hara, and Mr. Weiss walked on stage to spell outrageous words and be ridiculed for certain knacks they had, including Mr. Weiss being called out for suffering from lice because of his bald head.
On Friday, Ms. Paulson, Ms. Sirianni, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Torres appeared on stage for a night of hilarious laughs and a twerking Mr. Torres.
On Saturday, random audience members (some Tech alumni) came on stage for a hilarious last show.
The cast and the band had an amazing time. Even though rehearsals had only lasted 3 months in contrast to the 5 months of rehearsals last year, Lexi Murman ’16, a junior who played Tracy Turnblad in last year’s Hairspray! and portrays Rona Lisa Peretti in this year’s production says that, “This cast was very small. It was a change in pace compared to Hairspray last year; however, it allowed us to get very close. It was amazing to get such an enthusiastic response from everyone who came out to see it.”
Needless to say, Tech pulled off another fantastic musical, leaving many eagerly awaiting the next one to come.
Photos by Rebecca Yee