Courtesy photos
                                The entire cast dances during a scene from “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Hoquiam High School Drama’s spring production.

Courtesy photos The entire cast dances during a scene from “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Hoquiam High School Drama’s spring production.

To Bee or not to Bee? There’s no question

  • Fri Jan 31st, 2020 4:45pm
  • Life

By Kat Bryant

Grays Harbor News Group

The Hoquiam High School Drama Club will present “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” four times this coming week.

Performances will begin Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the 7th Street Theatre in downtown Hoquiam.

This fast-paced, Tony Award-winning comedy follows an eclectic group of students as they vie for the title of regional spelling bee champ — hoping never to hear the soul-crushing “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.

It’s “an unforgettable experience that chronicles all the joy, torment and passion of those who love to compete,” according to director Patty Sundstrom, who cherishes the memory of playing one of the spellers in the Driftwood Players’ 2012 production.

“It has been an amazing experience to be able to share my love of this show with these kids,” she said.

The HHS play stars Aiden Brown, Minh Thi Butler, Naomi Watkins, Mikaela Murphy, Cody Garman, Christian Gleeson, Lily Darrin, Jennifer Parks and Alyssa Schmoe. In addition to her acting role, Naomi is serving as student director.

More than 40 students are involved, both onstage and behind the scenes.

“Theatergoers will recognize several of the spellers. Aiden and Christian starred in the 7th Street Kids production of ‘Matilda,’ and Mikaela and Naomi have been active in Driftwood,” Sundstrom said. “Cody and Minh Thi are relative newcomers, but they will knock your socks off! The entire cast brings such energy to the stage.”

Her favorite part of this play? “A highlight of the show will definitely be Aiden’s rendition of ‘Magic Foot,’” she said. “He spells the words with his foot so that he can get a visual.”

Sundstrom also notes that the show includes audience participation: “Four lucky audience members will join us onstage as members of the Bee.”

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and children. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the high school, Harbor Drug or Crown Drug. Seats also will be available at the door a half-hour before each performance.

Only cash and checks will be accepted.

 

Chip Tolentino (Cody Garman) spells his word as Rona (Lily Darrin) and Vice Principal Panch (Jennifer Parks) look on.

Chip Tolentino (Cody Garman) spells his word as Rona (Lily Darrin) and Vice Principal Panch (Jennifer Parks) look on.

Leaf Coneybear (Christian Gleason, in blue) tells his family that he made it to the Bee. Also pictured, from left, are Makenna Catron, Jonas Stroup and Kaylen VanHousen.

Leaf Coneybear (Christian Gleason, in blue) tells his family that he made it to the Bee. Also pictured, from left, are Makenna Catron, Jonas Stroup and Kaylen VanHousen.

Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (Naomi Watkins) gets advice from her dad (Michael Turpin) on how to spell a word.

Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (Naomi Watkins) gets advice from her dad (Michael Turpin) on how to spell a word.

William Barfee (Aiden Brown) shows off his “magic foot.”

William Barfee (Aiden Brown) shows off his “magic foot.”

Marcy Park (Mikaela Murphy) is all business in spelling her word.

Marcy Park (Mikaela Murphy) is all business in spelling her word.