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Rose-Hulman Drama Club’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
October 24, 2012
Six quirky characters combat adolescent angst in their quest to
be the last speller standing inThe 25th Annual Putnam County
Come Out On Top? Six quirky characters covet for the
championship in the Rose-Hulman Drama Club's production of The 25th
Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on the Hatfield Hall Theater
The musical comedy, winner of two Tony Awards, is being
presented by members of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Drama
Club on October 26-27 and November 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hatfield
The pressure is on when these six spellers go head-to-head for
the prestigious country-wide championship. Each student has a set
of issues, from speech impediments to overbearing parents; one
speller relies on his "magic foot" to see him through; and another
goes into a trance before each turn.
Although the musical is set in a middle school, explains
Director of Student Productions Bunny Nash, patrons should consider
the content to be rated PG-13. Laced with a few profanities and
some adult humor, this spelling bee isn't suitable for younger
In a unique twist, cast members will be joined onstage by four
audience members who've been invited to participate as if they,
too, were vying for the championship, resulting in a hilarious
Senior applied biology major Alex Cochrane plays Chip Tolentino,
Boy Scout, crowd favorite, and previous bee champion who has
returned to defend his title. This is the 10th drama club
production for Cochrane, a Bloomfield, Indiana native who has also
acted at Greene County's Shawnee Theater.
"I think I've done every show since I got here," stated
Cochrane. "This is the first time I've had to portray someone 12 or
13 years old. I really like trying to portray a younger character"
as opposed to the adult characters he's most often played.
Newcomer Samantha Staszak, of San Diego, California, plays the
role of stereotypical Asian overachiever, Marcy Park. Pushed to
succeed by her parents, Marcy is a recent transfer to the area who
placed ninth in last year's National Spelling Bee.
|Experienced Actor: Senior applied biology major Alex
Cochrane plays a Boy Scout and previous spelling bee champion who
returns to defend his title in the musical production. This is his
10th production with the Rose-Hulman Drama Club.
"I like to think that deep down inside she wants to be accepted
by people," the freshman says of her character, "But, she thinks
being accepted means she has to be the best."
Staszak, a software engineering and computer science major, may
not be a national spelling champion like Marcy, but her vocal
talent earned her a place on the National High School Honor Choir
and performing at Carnegie Hall.
Now at Rose-Hulman, she is enjoying her first drama club
"I like that it has a lot of quirkiness. All the characters are
really different but they're all kind of brought together by what
they're doing," Staszak adds. "It's like a really weird
coming-of-age tale for fifth graders"
Nash adds that although the characters are quirky, they're also
"When we did the read through, the kids recognized themselves in
some of the characters. I recognized all of the personalities of
these kids either from when my own kids were growing up, or with
Rose-Hulman students…how competitive they can be and how funny that
can be," stated the director.
The Rose-Hulman Drama Club will perform The 25th Annual Putnam
County Spelling Beeon October 26-27 and November 1-3 at 7:30 p.m.
in the Hatfield Hall Theater. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10
for students/youth. Note: This production contains adult
language and mature themes. An equivalent movie rating would be
PG-13. Advance tickets may be purchased by calling the
Hatfield Hall ticket desk at (812) 877-8544 or visiting on weekdays
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Specific
show information is available at www.hatfieldhall.com.