Jay Allen Sanford 11 a.m., Sept. 20
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
A beauty contest for brains. And just when you start feeling superior to these teenage outcasts, they outspell you to the ground. And some, like bespectacled William Barfee and Marcy Parks (related to Rosa), "jump bad" with trash talk after they succeed. William Finn's popular musical has a narrow base and a repetitive format, but it's wall-to-wall funny. As is the North Coast Rep's production, ably directed by Rick Simas, with musical direction by Steven Withers. Overall, the voices are uneven, but the strong ones carry the show: Melinda Gilb (as Rose Lisa Peretti, winner of the third annual bee), Robert Barry Fleming (Mitch, the "comfort counselor"), Cashae Montoya (Marcy), and Nicole Werner (a touching Olive, who cuts loose when singing "The I Love You Song"). Omri Schein makes Barfee an ultimately likable, though acquired taste. And, as the Vice Principal, Phil Johnson does wonderful deadpan like few others. Marty Burnett puts a generic high school gym into the intimate NCRT space. And Peter Herman's costumes and wigs are often a kick.
Worth a try.
When: Ongoing until Saturday, August 14, 2010
- Sundays, 2pm & 7pm
- Wednesdays, 8pm
- Thursdays, 8pm
- Fridays, 8pm
- Saturdays, 8pm