The story of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is one of humor, tragedy, and even a little romance. Six spellers gather together in a gym: "alpha male" Chip Tolentino (Travis Baker), politically active Logainne Schwartandgrubenniere (Bridget DeMaria), absentminded Leaf Coneybear (Michael Schultz), neurotic William Barfee (Ryan Rodgers), sweet but nerdy Olive Ostrovsky (Sydney Demaria), and all business Marcy Park (Courtney Manley). These crazy kids duke it out in a no-holds-barred spelling bee using all kinds of wacky antics.
The energy put off by each of these quirky characters really builds off each other, whether its Barfee shouting down another speller, or Olive thinking dreamily about rearranging words, they all help bring the laughs and excitement. This is aided by the adept lighting skill of Jasmine Menendez, who is able to make the lighting fun and engaging through a variety of colors and washes. Each character is complimented by their own very unique costumes designed by Eligia Gonzalez, Daisy Haas, and Jessi Winslow. The sloppy appearance of Barfee shows that he doesn't care about how people think of him, and Leaf's homemade clothes and helmet really embody his happy-go-lucky demeanor.
This character-driven show is made by each and every actor or actress holding character even when the spot is not on them: every moment Barfee is sneering or wiping his hands or wringing his shirttail, Olive is staring off into the distance dreaming of words, and Chip is staring off at a female "distraction". As each character's motivations and drive is revealed and layers and depth are added to their character, the quirks become not just ticks, but pangs of longing or sadness or self-inflicted worry. The use of music helps add another layer to this as more and more is revealed about the private lives of each character, the more sympathetic they seem and all the more likable they become.
Whether it's pressures from parents, fierce drive made from alienation, estrangement from your family or being put down, this show teaches the important lesson of doing what makes you happy is better than trying to fit in someone else's box.
by Jay Veale of Brethren Christian High School
Los Alamito’s Musical is a Spelling Bee that is a Hysterical Good Time
The spelling bee is about to begin, the misfits enter the stage, receiving their designated numbers for the bee. It is apparent, that each contestant has their own story, personality, and drive for winning the spelling bee. Through their own original spelling methods and captivating songs, we learn about each one of them as people, and as spellers.
The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee is a hilarious musical about a group of competitive spellers named, Chip, Logainne, Leaf, William, Marcy, and Olive. The bee comes down to William Barfee, the eccentric speller who uses he feet to spell and is tad bit weird and Olive, the sweet girl, who is always on her own because he parents are never able to attend events for her.
Olive portrayed Sydney DeMaria is sweet, smart, and develops her character throughout the show, letting the audience feel her nerves and excitement in each song. Two of the standout numbers in the musical, “My Friend, the Dictionary” and “The I Love You Song,” she is a part of and she brings a level of emotional commitment to it that is commendable. William Barfee portrayed by Ryan Rogers, contains feelings for Olive, Barfee’s personality is so wild and wacky, through his mannerisms and vocal choices, and he is truly the comedic highlight of the show. His song, “Magic Foot,” is the number that engages the most, hysterical and easy to follow. The Vice Principal portrayed by Alonso Law, reads out the definitions and words to the contestants, keeping the show at the right pacing for the humor. Alonso works well with Katie Gerdts , who plays a popular real estate agent and past spelling bee winner who has come back to assist. They provide a steady foundation for the entire show.
The technical director, Sasha Rockwell, and the lighting designer and light interns, Jasmine Menendez, Sabrina Gludt, and Juliette Knight use simple lighting that is perfectly cued and follows brilliantly with the show. The costumes, lights, and set correlate well to develop the atmosphere of the show.
Los Alamito’s Spelling Bee is as brilliant as the it’s contestants and is not a show to miss!
by Tristen Tarp of El Dorado
L-O-S A-L-A-M-I-T-O-S Presents “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”
In a competition to show who is the best of the best in Putnam County, a spelling bee is held. The show is based heavily on stereotypes and the humor that comes with them, so the students all naturally have quirks. This show follows them competing against each other for a chance to go to Nationals, while emphasizing the internal conflicts and strengths of each person. Along the way, the audience learns about each of these characters and their inner turmoil, along with quite a few new words to add to their vocabularies.
As this show opened, it was clear from the first song that each actor on stage knew precisely who they were. From Leaf Coneybear (Michael Schultz)’s soft, simple personality to William Barfee (Ryan Rogers)’s confident and opinionated charisma, everyone had their own defining characteristics. Many of the characters had lisps- a common stereotype with the type of people in spelling bees- which provided a nice sense of character, though it sometimes got in the way of the audience understanding what was being said.
A positive example of the lisp came from Rogers. He not only kept a constant lisp in his acting and singing, but also completely transformed his voice for the character to be more of a closed-off sound. Olive Ostrovsky (Sydney DeMaria), on the other hand, was played as very sweet and innocent. DeMaria did not have the lisp that was very prevalent within the show, but had a very clear and sweet tone to her voice. All in all, the ensemble worked very well together, and – though there were a few pitch issues individually- blended beautifully in group songs and kept their harmonies tight and clean.
The show itself took place in a little black box theatre on campus. Despite the small size of the theatre and lack of lights at her disposal, Jasmine Mendez’s lighting design did a fantastic job of keeping the show moving and guiding numerous songs along. She used only LED lights to light the show, which proved to be a very rewarding aspect of the show, though it wasn’t the main focus. Her design was both appropriate and impressive, and didn’t overpower the storyline or the acting and singing going on.
Overall, this show proved to be very entertaining and educational, and was put on very well.
by Adena Bentley of Fullerton Union
25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Los Alamitos
Origin? Definition? Use it in a Sentence? All these questions are great to ask at a competitive spelling bee competition. Surrounding the over the top crazy struggles of six children in a spelling bee, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a funny, racy great musical at Los Alamitos High School.
With scalp scratching and hair picking, William Barfee (Ryan Rogers) was the insanely smart, but insanely odd champion speller. Throughout the show, Rogers made strong character choices that help create the wacky character. His voice was shrill and booming and it held thought all songs. Barfee’s costume (designed by Eligia Gonzalez, Daisy Haas, and Jessie Winslow), also helped build the crazy. The costume was complete with a bright handkerchief, untucked shirt, and unfitting shorts. Despite sounding odd, a detailed costume like Barfee’s allowed audience members to get a better idea of the characters.
Due to show originally being improv, there was audience participation in the first act. Three audience members were selected at random to be spellers with the actors. They too had to spell words, but ones much easier like cow. Two actors Katie Gerdts as Rona Lisa and Alonso Law as Vice Principal Douglas Panch, did an amazing job while improvising, making up hilarious definitions and creating entertaining backgrounds for the audience members based on appearance. All the other spellers also did a terrific job of interacting with the three audience members. Like Barfee (Rogers) who gave the three mean looks and weird mumbles.
Technical Aspects of the show were great, but one that did standout was the light design (done by Jasmine Menendez). Her design was amazing for such a fast paced, funny musical like Spelling Bee. She did an stunning job during songs like Pandemonium, using flashing colored lights, which created a chaotic mood needed for the song. Not only was the design brilliantly done, but also execution was spot on. There was no delay on lights, they happened just when they were needed. This showed how much effort was put into that single design aspect
The vocals while singing were great. All actors were loud and easy to hear. Each of them all had a special song for them, and all actors showed strong character while belting their song. However despite the overall great singing, there were a few points where certain actors had too strong of a character voice to under stand what exactly they were saying. This although was not through the entire show, most of the time actors were easy to understand.
Overall the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a must see at Los Alamitos High.
by Arcadia Eckmayer of Fullerton Union
A small stage, a small cast, a big achievement
After a decade of not having an active theatre department, Los Alamitos High School uses bright colors, and vibrant costumes to show that even after ten years their students can still shine.
Have you ever wanted to be apart of a musical but you did not want the burden of memorizing lines, or stage directions. Well at Los Alamitos High School’s show The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee you can. In this show the actors include the audience in the chaos of the spelling bee. Six contestants battle for the title of spelling bee champ, but as the story progresses the competitors finally realize that it’s not about winning it’s about spelling.
This very talented cast brought this show’s insane characters to life. Unforgettable characters performances included Alonso Law (Vice Principal Douglas Panch) Law played a very believe able vice principal who toured the audience with Katie Gerdts (Rona Lisa Perretti) looking for victims to participate in the spelling bee. A spelling bee would be nothing without its contestants and Ryan Rogers (William Barfee) plays the arrogant spelling bee constant that will stop at nothing to win. Rogers character development was fantastic, even when his character was not speaking he stayed committed to his role and did bizarre things like braiding his leg hair and polishing his shoes with a handkerchief. Sydney DeMaria (Olive Ostrovsky) is the sweet innocent school girl who has major parent issues. DeMaria worked so well with the whole cast she did not upstage anyone, which is a good trait to have.
Each actor worked extremely well on this production, but it would be nothing without the technicians. The lighting design (Jasmine Menendez) worked very well with the theatres led lights. Led lights are hard to use especially when their not common in high school theatres. Costumes designs (Eligia Gonzalez, Daisy Haas, Jessie Winslow) were simple, but they added to each characters personality, which is an important factor to a character.
When working in a small theatre, shows do not usually need large crews. This show worked great with a small crew, I am sure that if this show would have had a large crew it would have been sloppy, and unorganized. Los Al worked hard. It’s obvious when a school works hard on a production and I do not think that anything could be added to make it any better than it already is.
by Delaney Echavarria of Fullerton Union
Los Al brings on the ‘bee’
In this hilarious story of 6 young spelling bee contestants, only one comes out victorious and the rest are left with nothing more than a juice box. Los Alamitos’ production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” genuinely portrays its sweet characters and truly emphasizes the struggle they face to be the best.
The plot follows 6 seemingly innocent characters, one of which is William Barfee (Ryan Rogers), a nerdy, over confident boy looking to use his “magic foot” to win the bee. His consistent voice and noticeable quirky mannerisms make him an extremely believable character. He never falters with remaining in character and he can always be spotted doing something pertaining to his character. Rogers’ ability to completely transform into an over the top geek truly shows his commitment physically.
In juxtaposition to Barfee, Olive Ostrovsky (Sydney DeMaria), a naïve, modest girl projects visible sentimental characteristics. Her sweet voice and connected attitude combine to reveal an inner sense of confidence later in the show. This transformation from a modest, endearing girl to a more confident speller allows her to completely let go of all struggle and compete wholeheartedly in the bee. Her innocence, seen in the song “The I Love You Song,” gives viewers a glimpse of the real pain she is in not having her parents around and later how she overcomes it. The beautiful song between her and her parents allows for a true feeling of regret and love while still emphasizing Olive’s pain.
One small yet significant character, Mitch Mahoney (Alejandro Brewer), truly brings comedic relief to the harsher moments in the production. His subtle mannerisms and changes to his personality as the plot moves along provide an immensely dynamic character that remains believable throughout the show. While he mainly keeps to himself in the background, one could always see him attentively listening to the other characters and preparing for the next speller to get a word wrong.
Although the lighting in the show is minimal, the different flashing colors and good transitions effectively tell the story and portray the mood of the scenes. Done by Jasmine Menendez, the lighting truly captures the playful tone of the production. Also, costume designers Eligia Gonzalez, Daisy Haas, and Jessie Winslow beautifully dress each actor with small, unique pieces that represent each character’s personality. The noticeable choices provide a back story for each character and are all suited perfectly to the modern time of the show.
The entire cast and crew of this show truly produce a tale to remember with its unique, hilarious characters and overall effective technical work. Los Al succeeds in wonderfully telling this comedic story and provides exceptionally endearing connections on stage.
by Karina Vicente of Fullerton Union
Los Alamitos Holds 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
On February 26 2014, Los Alamitos put on 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, their first musical in ten years. The musical follows the story of six spelling contestants and their dreams of winning the bee. But they realize the things that matter most to them and are changed by what they learn from the bee. The cast and crew of Los Alamitos did a amazing performance of portraying the story through technical aspects and acting.
The set design introduced the audience to the gym of Putnam County High School. Created by Alonso Law, it was simple but very effective for the space they had on stage and focused on the characters with simple colors and chairs. The lighting design, created by Jasmine Menendez, also enhanced the characters by having specific color schemes for the asides and tones of the scene. And although they only had LED lighting, the light changes were great and were always on queue.
As each character was enhanced in their moment, William Barfee (Ryan Rogers) stood out strong with committing 1000% and his physicality to the details of his character. As he was confident but arrogant, his foil Olive Ostrovsky (Sydney DeMaria) was sweet and a little more shy, but drives the show with her connection with other characters, making her moments more powerful. But these two characters start to connect with one another and have a character shift where Olive becomes confident and William questions if he should give up the bee.
As another contestant, Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere (Bridget DeMaria) always had bright and big eyes and bright colors that had the audience attentive to her when she was speaking. As the outsider, Mitch Mahoney (Alejandro Brewer) was supposed to be doing his civic duty by helping out at the bee, but instead he lets go of his cool and tries to give the spellers advice on how there’s more to life than winning the bee. But he is also dealing with Rona Lisa Perretti (Katie Gerdts) who feels that the bee is much more than a competition and creates a professional atmosphere toward the bee.
As a whole, the cast and crew had consistently high energy and cooperated with one another so well that it created a wonderful show that Los Alamitos should be proud of.
by Katherine Jewell of Fullerton Union
Los Alamitos High’s “the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”
In a room filled with extremely big personalities all competing for the first place in the county spelling bee, the Los Alamitos cast, crew, and even audience illustrate the “struggle of the underdog” impeccably.
With goals to win the Putnam County spelling bee once again, Chip Tolentino’s (Travis Baker) outstanding voice dominates the stage in “Pandemonium.” Although his character does not win the bee, Travis Baker is able to continually cause the audience to laugh throughout the whole musical. Ryan Rodgers also provides comedic relief as William Barfee. From the moment he stumbles on stage, his stage business and physicality cause him to stand out among the other characters. He commits to his nasally voice and awkward, weird body language which reveal his odd and ignorant character. As he begins to fall for Olive Ostrovsky (Sydney DeMaria), we clearly see this character morph into a sweet, caring boy. Olive and William’s characters shift very nicely together as they develop more and more feelings for each other.
Sydney DeMaria creates a sweet, innocent character while still having great emotional moments when struggling with her feelings towards the absence of her parents. Alejandro Brewer as Mitch Mahoney, the “bad boy” of the show, also exhibits character changes as he grows to enjoy his assigned job of comforting the losers of the bee. He exhibits fantastic stage presence and seems very calm and natural on stage.
The lights aid in setting the tone and focus of specific scenes such as musical numbers and when Leaf Coneybear begins to spell. The set is simple, yet extremely usable and effective. The costumes greatly aid in creating character, such as William Barfee’s tattered shorts and partially untucked shirt and Mitch Mahoney’s leather jacket. Cues were also cued on time, especially with the camera flash and sound at the end of the show.
Although character quirks occasionally made lines difficult to understand and projection became an issue, the ensemble did a fantastic job of being consistent with their character decisions and keeping a high energy level throughout the entire show. They also refrained from breaking character and didn’t laugh during very comedic moments.
With the combined efforts of the cast and crew of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Los Alamitos high provides an amusing and lively performance.
by Katya Beener of Fullerton Union
Los Alamitos Takes First at the Bee!
Your word is L-O-S A-L-A-M-I-T-O-S. From quirky characters to strange and unexpected words Los Alamitos High School’s production of Spelling Bee took home the prize in the hearts of all to came to see the first musical put on by the school in 10 years.
This Finn and Sheinkin musical takes place in Putnam County, New York where six finalists have met to fight for the trophy. Members of the audience also joins these six. Three adults help adjudicate the students: a former spelling bee champion, a slightly insane Vice Principal and a comfort counselor who is completing his community service hours. The wacky show takes many twists and turns and in the end the spellers learn that winning isn’t everything.
Los Al’s production was secured with amazing talent and fantastic improvisation. The small cast of nine each brought a different aspect to the story with their immense character work and sharp improv skills. Notable performances include Ryan Rogers as the quirky and nerdy William Barfée, magic foot and all; and Sydney DeMaria as the humble, modest, and innocent Olive Ostrovky. This duo showed great progression which was noticed in “Second.”
Another stand out was Travis Baker as Chip Tolentino. He brought his character to life and got his point across clearly. Bridget DeMaria took the empowered elementary student Logainne Schwartzandgrunenniere to the next level by using her eyes to draw us in. DeMaria showed nice consistency with the lisp.
The lighting work done by Jasmine Menendez, Sabrina Gludt, and Juliette Knight was outstanding. The lighting was not over the top so the characters stayed the main focus but it was very effective. The green lighting to show slow motion worked very well and the flash at the end of the show was very realistic. The costumes did wonders by helping the characters establish a true identity. Eligia Gonzalez, Daisy Haas, and Jessie Winslow made great choices that represented each character well. It was nice to see them use the Broadway production for inspiration but still make it their own. A few props were a bit distracting and at some moments the cast was not loud enough, but overall the project was good.
Los Alamitos production of Spelling Bee was a fun, quirky experience that left the audience wanting to sign up for an upcoming spelling bee.
by McKenna Vargas of Fullerton Union
Fusion of Adolescence and Humor
Los Alamitos High School hit the bulls eye when it comes to capturing the ideas of growing up and fitting in during high school. In a story that uses audience participation and improv, the actors were able to keep high levels of energy and humor throughout the entire performance. The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee, although in a Black Box, captured the full essence of stage presence and captivated the audience through funny remarks and using the audience members.
The technical elements behind the production brought to life the performance by creating a perfect setting for a spelling bee. The lighting was superb, and perfectly on cue as it eloquently lit of the scenes. Even the lighting was used to enhance moments of humor. The costumes also paralleled the ideas of the Broadway version, while still allowing for small adjustments made by the Los Alamitos costumers.
The acting done by the performers was simple, yet effective. Although the cast had some pitch issues, the high energy during the musical numbers was refreshing and excited the audience. Actress, Sydney DeMaria, portrayed her character eloquently, and even had a twinkle in her high, representing the idea of hope and innocence. Actor, Ryan Rogers, remained in character even when he was not the center of attention on stage. His small mannerisms brought his character to life, as well as his performance in the musical number “Magic Foot”. Although some characters were hard to understand, the group put forth their best attributes to display each characters personal quality. The training behind these acting techniques was apparent, and as a whole, the cast brought to life the Spelling Bee.
The hilarious moments in the show, even causing the actors to break character at times, brought a whole new level of energy that should be experienced by all. This show is definitely a crowd pleaser.
by Aaren Kisner of Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts
LOCAL BUZZ ON THE LOS ALAMITOS PRODUCTION OF SPELLING BEE
Los Alamitos High School presented The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and it seemed to go off without a hitch! The cast was small, but the movement and mannerisms created an entire new world that the audience fell in love with. In their Blackbox Theater, the stage and room as a whole allowed smaller space between the actors and the audience, creating a more personal connection that is lost within the colossal theaters.
Just as well, the energy from each and every character drove the show into a place of pure entertainment. Because each speller in the competition is intensely unique, it proves to be very difficult when managing a constant facade without breaking. These teenagers were probably some of the most committed character actors in Orange County. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the show that much more since every line and song were in the magical moment. Voice alterations worked beautifully coinciding with the show, but at times these accents and such became too thick and lost the integrity of the line at that point in time.
The show was especially exciting due to the genuine and bubbly Sydney DeMario as she portrayed Olive Ostrowski. 'The I Love You Song' truly connected her backstory to her current time at the Bee. Ryan Rogers, who portrayed Barfee, is indeed a leading man. He flew above and beyond with character analysis and it shined through as he utilized his talents to contribute to the integrity of the show as a whole with simply being on stage.
To summarize this piece of art as a whole, all of these teens in the cast proved to be so incredibly gifted and I was immensely impressed at how committed they were to each part down to whatever mannerism or voice it included along with it. It is evident that a show is successful when the audience wishes they could go up and perform alongside them, so in this case, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee proved to be a definite success.
by Cole Wachman of Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts
Can you spell F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C
Roaring spirits and energy beyond compare soared through the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Los Alamitos High School. A cast of only 9 high school students presented a whirlwind of hysterical characters competing each other for the title of “Winner of the Bee”. Each character was presented with one or more stand out moment that filled the audience laughter, shock, and even tears. While the Bee progresses, each character has flashbacks and memories that present very intriguing and hysterical backstories. The show was presented in the Black box Theater, creating a very personal atmosphere with the characters and the audience. The show also featured audience participation and several audience members were selected to “participate” in the Bee. The set was very minimal, yet very fitting to the show and offered no distractions from the story and characters. The most effective element to the show was the minimal, yet stunning lighting. The lighting could take the show from a hilarious moment, into a very serious sad one in just a blink of the eye. The lighting also added to the comedy as seen when Leaf Coneybear went into a trance to spell words such as “Acouchi”.
The stunning cast of only 9 people really carried the entire show, and each one held their own ground. Every character was well rounded, and very though out. Each character had its little quark, such as William Barfee’s lip biting and foot spelling, and Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere’s lisp. William Barfee, played by Ryan Rogers, stayed in deep character the entire length of the show. While others broke at times from the hilarity of the show, Rogers was in character and never cracked a smile. Another stand out moment was when Katie Gerdts, Travis Baker, and Sydney DeMaria sang the “I Love You Song” together as the characters Olive, Olive’s Mom and Olive’s Dad. While the show featured many outrageous jokes and laughs, this song was an emotional change that shocked the audience and left them breathless. While jokes and laughs fueled the show, the man behind them had to make everything work perfectly. Alonso Law, playing the Vice President, delivered almost all of the jokes nearly flawlessly and without hesitation. Everyone offered an energy to the show that is hard to find in high school theater. Every character deserves to be called the winner at this Bee.
by Anthony Skillman of Lutheran High School of Orange County
Let the Spelling Begin at LAHS's Production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Set during a fictional spelling bee in Putnam County, New York, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee tells the story of six talented children competing against eachother as well as members of the audience in a spelling bee, trying to make it to Nationals. With the help of a prideful past spelling bee winner, a mildy insane vice principal, and a convict completing his community service to the state of New York, this production offers a great laugh as well as offering a look into the different lives of the children and their personal struggles.
Sydney DeMaria portrays Olive Ostrovsky with sincere, demure characteristics and shows an advanced character development, accompanied by the amazing clarity and stunning tone of her singing. William Barfee (Ryan Rogers) is absolutely hilarious with his nerdy physicality, amazing comedic timing, and his prominent yet understandable accent. Courtney Manley plays the overconfident and advanced speller Marcy Park. While not using face mics made some lines and songs uncomprehendible, Manley's diction and beautiful singing makes her story easier to understand. Michael Schultz, portraying Leaf Coneybear, demonstrates his character's naive innocence and sudden ability to spell words correctly with a great acting ability. Bridget DeMaria portrays the bubbly, wide-eyed Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere with a clear, powerful belting voice and comedic delivery of her lines and songs. Chip Tolentino (Travis Baker) is hilarious when singing of his unfortunate "distraction" and shows a more mature, emotional character when portraying Olive's Dad. Katie Gerdts and Alonso Law do an amazing job portraying the adults Rona Lisa Perretti and Vice Principal Douglas Panch with a great chemistry that evokes audience's laughter. Alejandro Brewer dives into his character Mitch Mahoney with great comedic timing and funny actions to portray the character very well.
The set is simple yet effective with great details, such as school championship banners and posters that publicized the spelling bee, making audiences feel as if they are actually in a school gym. Lighting design uses different lights that help the audience seperate flashbacks from the current moment, as well offering a sense of urgency during the "Spelling Montage" with different colors flashing. Costumes used in the show are effective in showing each character's personality with the use of bright colors to emphasize the childlike component, while other older characters had on darker colors to show their maturity. This show is publicized using a fun trailer and colorful posters that give a taste of what kind of show audiences will be seeing.
Los Alamito High School's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee offers an amazing experience. This production is definitely worth a visit!
by Audrey Bivens of Lutheran High School of Orange County
Wonderful, W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L, La Habra’s 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was wonderful
After 10 years waiting in the shadow lands, Los Alamitos hits the ground running with an absolutely unforgettable experience. With quirky and lovable characters the 25th Annual Spelling Bee had the audience in stiches and reaching for tissues. Each character is brought to life and reimagined in ways that left the audience with no choice but to be transported into the hallowed gym of Putnam County High.
As a whole the small cast of 9 showed more than capable of entertaining the audience, however each student seemed to have developed not only their characters but also the back story behind them. One of the clear standouts of the show was Vice Principal Panch (Alonso Law) who was always quick to give a hilarious sentence and definition to each student. Law was a joy to see on stage his use of tone really helped each line be delivered with the utmost respect to the show. As well as Vice Principal Panch, the former Spelling Bee champion Mrs. Lisa Perretti (Katie Gerdts) was also a delight. From her Bulgarian riffs in “The I love you Song” to her “Favorite part of the bee”, Gerdts made a marvelous impression on stage.
William Barfee played by Ryan Rogers was by far the crowd favorite. From his magic voice to his obnoxious confidents Rogers played the role perfectly with but the slightest of effort. To compliment his hysterical antics was the hopeless romantic and kind Olive Ostrovsky (Sydney DeMaria). DeMaria had such a tenderness on stage which made the audience swoon to a melt from her hopeful ballad in “The I love you song” to her poppy song “My Friend the dictionary” were she expresses her love for spelling.
As the comfort counselor Mitch Mahoney, Alejandro Brewer was more than perfect, as many times he would anticipate a speller spelling a word wrong and prepare a juice box for them. Along with Brewer, Courtney Manley was a terrific addition to bee as the uptight and shrewd Marcy Park. Manley’s vocals were also highlighted in the song “I speak six languages” were she finally finds her ability to give up words and find something she loves.
From the lighting, to set and everything in between Los Alamitos 25th Annual Spelling Bee shows to bring tears of laughter whether the audience liked it or not.
by Jeremy Thulemeyer of Lutheran High School of Orange County
With comedic characters and moments that draw you in, Los Alamitos High School brings the work of William Finn to a whole new level in their interactive and creative adaptation of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
This musical follows six crazy kiddos attempting to live their dreams and win this years Putnam County spelling bee.
Los Alamitos High School’s production is anchored by the excellent performances brought forth by the 9-person cast. Every student, whether behind the scenes or in the spotlight, brilliantly contributes to the success of the show and helps convey the slapstick story that is The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Many of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’s crazy characters are brought to life through the hard-work and talent of the dedicated cast and crew. Ryan Rodgers as “William Barfee” displays fantastic comedic timing through his outrageous accent and actions that had the audience in stitches. His commitment to his role is noticed from his head all the way down to his “Magic Foot.” Olive Ostrovsky, played by the incredible Sydney DeMaria, performs this quirky role in a sweet and sentimental way that captures the audience’s heart. Her beautiful vocal tone and humble confidence are noticeably illustrated throughout the entirety of the show. Vice Principal Douglas Panch, portrayed by Alonso Law, shows his character development through his unbelievable comedic timing, tone and physique.
The whole cast exhibits genuine commitment to their roles through their high-energy chorus numbers and riveting performances. Although pitch is sometimes off, the casts comedic acting and notable devotion to their roles overrides. Some stand out supporting actors include Travis Baker as “Chip” for his solid vocals and versatility, Katie Gerdts as “Rona Lisa Peretti” for her strong alto belt, and Courtney Manley as “Marcy Park” for her physicality and mannerism’s that prove her characters freeing transformation.
Fun costumes, effective sets, and colorful lights are just some of the many technical aspects, created by students, which heighten the level of success for their production. Although the lack of microphones is sometimes distracting, the powerhouse vocals brought forth through the students compensates. The on-queue lighting proves effective by setting the tone for every scene.
Los Alamitos High School’s version of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is an entertaining, comical experience that truly captivates all audiences.
by Kiersten Rummell of Lutheran High School of Orange County
“The Spelling Rules” at Los Alamitos High
Showcasing the talents of a cast of nine, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Los Alamitos High School takes audiences on a comical journey through the lives of the contestants and administration of the fictional Putnam County spelling bee.
Katie Gerdts is believable as realtor and ex-spelling bee champion, Rona Lisa Perretti. Gerdts speaks with a clear voice and commands the stage well. Her counterpart, Alonso Law is exceptional as Vice Principal Douglas Panch. The Vice Principal reads off the words for the spellers and provides information like language of origin and uses the word in a sentence. While some characters lack clear diction, Law speaks articulately. Law creates a distinct character, executes his comedic lines with flair, and reacts with the audience participants well.
A standout among the spellers is Ryan Rogers as the disheveled, arrogant William Barfee. Rogers delivers a distinct and layered performance, using a character voice and reacting to the plot and characters constantly. Rogers kept up his Barfee voice and impressively remained on pitch during his songs. While some broke character throughout the performance, Rogers remained consistent in his role. “Magic Foot”, in which Rogers is featured, is an enjoyable ensemble number that the cast shows off their dancing, singing, and comedic abilities. William Barfee’s eventual love interest is the meek Olive Ostrovsky. Sydney DeMaria executes the role of Olive well, portraying her timid nature and self-reliance in the absence of her parents’ involvement in her life. DeMaria sings “My Friend, the Dictionary” and “The I Love You Song” with great emotion. Sydney DeMaria is genuinely sweet in this role and communicates the serious themes through her light, heartwarming demeanor and comedy. Also notable is Bridget DeMaria as the politically aware Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere. Bridget DeMaria uses a strong lisp and conveys the contrast between Logainne’s political fervor and jubilant, juvenile innocence.
Lighting design by Jasmine Mende is fantastic in aiding the storyline. The shifts in lighting and color throughout the performance, like in “Pandemonium”, skillfully support the plot and emotions of characters. Costumes by Eligia Gonzalez, Daisy Haas, and Jessie Winslow also help reflect characterizations. Scenic design by Alonso Law provides a quality school backdrop that does not distract from the action.
The entire ensemble maintains incredible energy throughout the entirety of the performance, making Spelling Bee at Los Alamitos an entertaining and well-executed show.
by Sarah Pierce of Lutheran High School of Orange County
The Cast and Crew of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Brings More Than Spelling to Los Alamitos High School
Los Alamitos High School offers a lot more than spellers in the hilarious, high-energy show, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The show encircles the comedy and very unique people within a county spelling bee. With having a very small amount of spellers, every character is extremely distinctive. Throughout the bee, each character’s spelling skills as well as bits and pieces of their pasts are revealed. Selected audience members also take the stage as spellers, adding a lot of comedy and great opportunities for improvisation with the cast.
Ryan Rogers takes the stage playing the role of William Barfee. With his stunning take on the character as well as his exceptional mannerisms and an indescribable talent with dancing on his toes. His cute and unique relationship with fellow speller, Olive Ostrovsky (Sydney DeMaria), captivates the audience with a classic example of sweet, teen love. DeMaria effectively captures the essence of the sweet, sprightly teenager whose past is slowly revealed throughout the spelling bee. Some of the spellers get eliminated from the bee during the first half of the show. However, these characters, Chip Tolentino (Travis Baker) and the audience participants, provide a lot of energy and unique characterizations to the show. Chip successfully represents the proud, spry, young man going through the classic signs of puberty. His comical body language livens the stage even more by increasing the humor and energy. Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere (Bridget DeMaria), Marcy Park (Courtney Manley), and Leaf Coneybear (Michael Schultz) all dominate the stage by showing their remarkable spelling techniques as well as bringing unique and individualistic characters to the stage. Rona Lisa Perretti (Katie Gerdts) and Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Alonso Law) also do a phenomenal job as the judges of the spelling bee. Walking through the house prior to the show in character and having a prim and proper attitude while adding some sass to the judges table.
Overall, Los Alamitos High School deserves more than a standing ovation with the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a truly amazing performance.
by Bobby Surridge of Newport Harbor High School
Los Alamitos High School definitely knows how to spell their way through a fantastic show…
With crazy high energy, audience cooperation, and the best character adaptations from the cast, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is one that you need to add to your weekend schedule. The spelling bee takes stereotypical nerds and throws them all into one room, and expects them to spell, and that’s exatly what they do. Each character has a way for us to remember them by, and with each word that is spelled out, you learn small amounts of their life as time goes on.
A character with a level of normalcy and lack of parental support Olive Ostrovsky (Sydney DeMaria) uses the spelling bee to figure out why her parents aren’t around as often as they should be. True thoughts and emotions pour out in “The I l Love You Song” revealing what she thinks about her disconnected family life. There is a relationship that develops during the bee, William Barfee (Ryan Rogers) is most dedicated to his characters true self with the obnoxious voice and very ratty costume. Throughout the show Barfee and Ostrovsky use their weird an witty ways to become fond of each other, and the uniqueness of the adaptation of love is on you have to see Barfee and Marcy park (Courtney Manley) have exceptional dancing skills that they use to incorporate their nerdy fun ways they know about expectations and how they remember how to spell each individual word in the bee.
The hosts of the bee have incredibly stage presence and even better singing voices Rona Lisa Peretti and Douglas Panch do a great job using each other to support each of their individual characters.
Technical aspects of the show are almost spot on. A very memorable section of the show are the lights, with every light change it was swift and almost perfection. The colors they used to add effects really bring out the moods of the show. The costumes were also incredible, done to please a certain portrayal for each character, they fit their personalities perfectly and are, without question, a huge comical part of the show.
Los Alamitos is very successful for their first musical in what seems like forever, this is a show that you don’t want to miss.
by Kenzie Stephens of Newport Harbor High School
Bee amazed by Los Alamitos High School
Los Alamitos' production is lively and engaging with improvisational audience interaction and delightful musical numbers that turn the crowd into contestants at The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
The show takes place in Putnam County at the local high school and follows the members of the bee and the stories behind their participation. With each passing round of words, the contestants are put to the test and some find that there may be more at stake than just a trophy, while others discover that winning isn't everything.
The overly-confident finalist of last year's spelling bee is William Barfée played by Ryan Rogers. Throughout the production his odd and unusual physicality is unparalleled, whether he is biting his lip and picking his nose in his seat or attempting to spell words while shuffling his foot in "Magic Foot" he constantly brings the audience to an uproarious laughter. Along with his nasally voice due to only one working nostril and untucked shirt and messy hair, Rogers displays captivating character development when he humbly reaches out to his fellow finalist and crush Olive Ostrovsky as they dance across the stage during "Second."
Sydney DeMaria stumbles into the competition as the first-time speller Olive Ostrovsky. Sporting an all pink ensemble, DeMaria delivers an impressive performance vocally as she sings about how she got to the bee in "My Friend, the Dictionary" or in "The I Love You Song" as she reveals her feelings about her parents. In contrast to Barfée, she slowly becomes more confident in herself as she attempts to flirt with William and encourages him to win. Her cute and quirky personality can be seen in her movement with each approach to the microphone as she covers her mouth to try and spell a word or when trying to hide the smile she gets while staring at Barfée.
Lighting design by Jasmine Menendez features a variety of vibrant colors and impeccable execution that add an amusing twist to each different aspect of the show. Quick switches in color help to convey the flashbacks of each character and help heighten the humor of each song, especially during "Pandemonium" with a barrage of rainbow colors and sharp changes with each new word during the rapid spelling montage.
Los Alamitos tells a hilarious and endearing underdog tale and reminds us that sometimes winning doesn't always mean losing.
by Dalton Young of Tesoro
Los Alamitos is Back and Better Than Ever
Los Alamitos High School spells out perfection in their production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It has been years since their last musical production, but one could never tell from the cast and crew’s easy confidence, efficiency, and talent. The laughter never stops at this Bee!
Six quirky children competing in the spelling bee keep the audience laughing through their triumphs, defeats, and unfortunate distractions. Four audience members compete alongside them and receive a juice box as they are eliminated, until finally two infatuated kids must decide between winning and selflessness.
The largest personality of the competitors is William Barfee, played by Ryan Rogers. His disheveled look of baggy clothes and frizzy hair help to exaggerate Rogers’s outstanding physicality. Rogers sweeps his “magic foot” across stage to help him spell out a word, and angrily stomps to the microphone to correct the pronunciation of his last name. Yet, Rogers’s loud, nasally voice grows soft as he becomes fond of his competitor, Olive, and offers to lose the competition for her. Nonetheless, His confidence never falters as he emphatically spells out his final word and wins the prized Spelling Bee trophy.
Opposite of Barfee is Olive Ostrovsky, played by Sydney DeMaria. Dressed in pink, she is sweet and naïve, singing about her lonely childhood in “My Friend, the Dictionary”. DeMaria tiptoes across stage with a bright smile stretched across her face as she gets each word right. However, her soft voice turns soulful in “The I Love You Song” as she reflects upon her parent’s absences. By the final round of the Spelling Bee, Olive is self-reliant and satisfied with second place.
Guiding the students through their competition is Vice Principal Panch played by Alonso Law, and Rona Lisa Perretti played by Katie Gerdts. Designated to read the definitions and sentences, their clever wit shines as they improv jokes about the ridiculous words or even the audience. From greeting audience members outside of the theatre to handing out the first place trophy, Law and Gerdts are the driving force of the show. Although they are adults, their characters mature: Law must calm down after an angered outburst, but does so enough to give Olive an affectionate second place award.
With high energy, confidence, and bursting talent, Los Alamitos High School’s musical comeback is a spelling bee you will never forget!
by Madison Schwartz of Tesoro