Musical theater first performed their rendition of the edgy yet heartfelt musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, on Oct. 20. Although the performance went smoothly, there were many hardships that led up to the outcome. The cast were only given five weeks to learn the layout of the play, along with the actors in the play being pushed to improvise and make adjustments quickly.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee portrays a group of middle schoolers who compete in a spelling bee. The play highlights what it is like to be a teenager with such high expectations. They overcome adversity by performing the stressful spelling bee in front of many parents. The play did not fail to have many humorous components, even when talking about tough subjects like puberty and being overworked.
“It’s honestly one of the funniest shows I’ve ever been in,” senior Gabriella Boggeri, who portrayed Olive in the musical, said.
However it was not all easy for the cast. One challenge was the new director being gone for three weeks.
“One drawback was in the beginning, our director was on a honeymoon for a big chunk of the rehearsal process, so it was difficult to get down the blocking,” senior Jasmin Hamzehloo, who portrayed Rona, said.
The actors were not the only ones who struggled. First time director and San Marin alumnus Jesse Northen had not taken part in a show for four years.
“I hadn’t even been in a show since 2018, let alone been in charge of one. That was a big adjustment,” Northen said.
Despite there being a new director and actors not given much time to prepare, the student actors are still confident in their production.
“For his first show, and our first show since Covid, I think we are doing amazing,” Boggeri said.
Improvisation was a big part of the play, as actors had to make it flow while also having fun with it.
“Theater is a collaborative art and there’s no way the show would have been as funny as it was without the casts’ moments that they came up with themselves,” Northen said.
While improvisation can be difficult, the cast enjoyed the challenge.
“It could go any way… it’s a little scary when you first think about it but practicing with the unexpected is really fun,” Hamzehloo said, “I think with this show improv is the best way to go.”
Along with improvisation, there was the use of edgy jokes and references, many being sexual, that alluded to one of the sub-plots of the play, which was going through puberty.
“I think it made adolescence in a lighter tone, when people are going through puberty, like Chip’s character, there’s a lot of pressure to be perfect, and this musical makes it feel like you don’t have to be.” Hamzehloo said.
The next musical will be performed next spring.
“You’re not going to find this anywhere else,” Boggeri said.