Dust off your dictionaries and polish those spelling skills, because you’re invited next week to not one, but TWO Southeast Michigan premieres of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee!”
On Thursday, Nov. 12, Dynamic Stage Productions becomes the first community theater in Metro Detroit to stage the hysterical antics of six quirky adolescents (and six equally quirky adults) as they experience the heartache, angst and excitement of growing up. Then, the very next night, the UDM Theatre Company raises the curtain on the area’s first collegiate production. And others will be forthcoming as the current season progresses.
Why? Because the popular Tony Award-winning musical not only has a heartwarming story, it’s also relatively cheap to produce – at least as far as musicals are concerned. And since “Spelling Bee” is fresh off the national tour and recently closed on Broadway after nearly 1,200 performances, numerous theaters throughout the state have jumped at the chance to offer the show this season to their patrons. (Saugatuck’s Mason Street Warehouse beat everyone to the punch this past August.)
So here are the details of Metro Detroit’s first two productions.
Dynamic Stage Productions: Southeast Michigan’s newest community theater is proud to be the first in the area to present the most hilarious spelling bee you’ve ever been to – a hip musical comedy about a lovable group of misfits who juggle the competition while ensnared in the desperate throes of puberty.
The cast of “Spelling Bee” features Jami Krause (Rona Lisa Peretti), Ellington Berg (William Barfee), Abigail Hill-Kennedy (Olive Ostrovsky), Kimberly Elliott (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre), Evan Mann (Chip Tolentino), Analea Lessenberry ( Marcy Park), Caleb Kruzel (Leaf Coneybear), John Ellett (Mitch Mahoney), and Dave Cooper (Vice Principal Panch).
Spelling Bee is directed by David Cooper and Kyle Farr, with musical direction by Joseph Cruz.
“Spelling Bee” will have performances at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12-14; 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15 at Riverside Arts Center, 76 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti.
Tickets are $15 at the door or you can reserve them online at http://www.dynamicstageproductions.com.
UDM Theatre Company: Prepare for a H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S night of A-D-U-L-T theater, thanks to the UDM Theatre Company and the Marygrove College Music Department.
“Spelling Bee” opens Nov. 13 for a limited two-week engagement through Nov. 22 at the Marygrove College Theatre, on the campus of Marygrove College, 8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit.
The cast features Darrius Washington (Chip Tolentino), Anne C. Di Iorio (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere), Maxwell C. Bolton (Leaf Coneybear), Joel A. Frazee (William Barfee), Catherine Dacpano Menzies (Marcy Park), Susan Boonenberg (Olive Ostrovsky), Erica Cole (Rona Lisa Perretti), Steven Ploe (Vice Principal Douglas Panch), Dez Walker (Mitch Mahoney and Olive’s Dad), Angel Shakespeare (Olive’s Mom), Rob Hammond (Carl Grubenierre), Emmanuel Carter (Dan Schwarz) and Chris Jakob (Jesus Christ).
Direction is provided by Greg Grobis, with musical direction by Shawn McDonald.
Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $20 for general admission, $16 for discount admission (senior citizens, UDM and Marygrove faculty, staff, and alumni), $13 for students and $9 for UDM and Marygrove students. Please note there is a $3 service fee per order for non-subscribers.
For tickets, call the theatre box office at 313-993-3270 or reserve your tickets online at http://theatre.udmercy.edu.