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Don't miss O-U-T: Andria Theatre stages spelling bee musical

Spelling bee contestants sing a song about William Barfee's magical foot in the Andria Theatre's production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." The cast members include (left to right) Lindsay Ann as Marcy Park, Haley Wegner as Olive Ostrovsky, Joe Johnson as Barfee and Carolyn Giannone as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)1 / 3
The cast of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" at the Andria Theatre includes (standing, left to right) Haley Wegner as Olive Ostrovsky, Lindsay Ann as Marcy Park, Joe Johnson as William Barfee, David Christman as Chip Tolentino, Carolyn Giannone as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere and Jon Provance as Leaf Coneybear (below). The play opens Thursday, Oct. 12. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)2 / 3
David Christman, who plays Chip Tolentino in Andria Theatre's newest production, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," takes center stage as he tries to spell a word during the spelling bee competition. The judges for the annual contest include Vice Principal Douglas Panch, played by Scott Giannone and Rona Lisa Perretti, played by Paige Knorak. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)3 / 3

Six spelling champions learn that winning — and losing — isn't everything.

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," a musical comedy, is the Andria Theatre's newest production. The play, which takes place at the downtown theater Oct. 12-15 and 19-22, focuses on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the spelling bee, run by three equally quirky grown-ups. The play includes mature language and themes, and there is also audience participation.

While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.

At least the losers get a juice box — and a hug.

Jake Stone, who has starred in other Andria Theatre productions and also in plays at Jefferson High School in Alexandria, is in the director's chair for the first time with this production.

"It has been awesome to work with such a great group of actors, who are also some of my closest friends," Stone said. "It has been such a pleasure to watch them grow as actors and to watch them in their moments that are so real and authentic."

As for the theatre choosing this production, which Stone called "fun and zany," he explained that over the past couple years, the theater has conducted polls with their audiences and also with the actors to see what type of productions were wanted and that "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" fit the bill.

Stone also said he has a lot of admiration for this group of actors, who all have full-time jobs, for being able to come together during the past six weeks to work on this production and make it the quality production it is. His hope is audiences will love it as much as he does.

'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

When: Oct. 12-15 and 19-22, Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.

Where: Andria Theatre, 618 Broadway St., Alexandria

Tickets: Go to or call the box office at 320-762-8300.


Scott Giannone — Vice Principal Douglas Panch

Paige Knorak — Rona Lisa Perretti

David Zachary Conover — Mitch Mahoney

David Christman — Chip Tolentino

Joe Johnson — William Barfee

Carolyn Giannone — Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere

Lindsay Ann — Marcy Park

Jon Provance — Leaf Coneybear

Haley Wegner — Olive Ostrovsky


Director — Jake Stone

Music director — Mark Graf

Clarinet and saxophone — Paul Engebretson

Percussion — Jordan Tacker

Costume/hair design — Katy Niemeyer

Sound tech — Joy Wrolson

Light tech — Caitlyn Bower

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste Edenloff, a reporter for the Echo Press, has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from May of 1999 to February 2011, and is happy to be back and once again sharing the stories of the people in this community. Besides being a reporter, Celeste is a certified fitness instructor and enjoys teaching bootcamp classes through Snap Fitness. She also enjoys running and has participated in more than 170 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.


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