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RLT presents ‘Putnam County Spelling Bee’

RLT presents 'Spelling Bee'

The cast of Rome Little Theatre’s “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at a promotional photo shoot. The show opens Sept. 1

Clarissa Brinkley

Spelling Bee hopes and dreams are on the line as Rome Little Theatre kicks off its 61st season with the Broadway musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

The show runs Sept. 1-10 at the Historic DeSoto Theatre.

The witty and heartwarming musical tells the tale of six elementary school students participating in the highly competitive local spelling bee. The spellers enter the Bee with their own individual hopes and dreams, and ultimately face their own challenges. Under the supervision of three hilarious adults, Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Michael Hillman), comfort counselor Mimi Mahoney (Beth McCain), and former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion Rona Lisa Peretti (Maegan Williams), the spellers share details of their own story and compete for the winning trophy.

The show is directed by Lillian Shaw and produced by Jamie Landers.

“It’s a bunch of adults pretending to be preteens, so there’s definitely an element of silliness to it,” Shaw said. “But the harmonies are complex and beautiful, the dialogue is witty and fast-paced, and the characters are so real and funny. This show is one of the smartest musicals out there, and it’s perfect for a community theatre setting like we have at RLT.”

Shaw promises that audiences will fall in love with the true-to-life quirkiness of each of the Bee’s adolescent participants — the shy Olive Ostrovsky (Sophia Veser), the temperamental William Barfee (James Swendsen), precocious Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre (Haley Pendleton), multi-talented Marcy Park (Holly Thomas), eccentric Leaf Coneybear (Zac Mitchell), and former champion Charlito “Chip” Tolentino (Russell Evans). “Spelling Bee” reminds us of the pressure of adolescence and shows us that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.

RLT’s “The 25 Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” runs Sept. 1-10 at the DeSoto Theatre. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m. and the Sunday matinees begin at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for students and seniors, and $12 for children. Tickets can be purchased by visiting or by calling the Rome Little Theatre box office at 706-295-7171. This production is rated PG-13, and adult guidance is recommended for younger audience members.