Definition: involving or set to music.
Students at the University of South Dakota can relive their middle grade spelling bee days this weekend with the Department of Theatre’s final performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
“Bee” is a one-act musical comedy chronicling the experience of six children as they compete for the crown at the regional spelling bee championship. One unusual aspect of the musical is that four audience members will join the actors on stage to participate in the bee.
Senior Natalie Polisson has been in a performance of “Bee” before and said the audience participation moments in the show are some of the most fun.
“It’s just really crazy and unpredictable for the audience,” she said.
Senior Allen Jones said because of the lack of fourth wall between the audience and the actors, “Bee” is excellent for a lot of improvisation.
“Every night there’s different people, and we’re interacting with them so it’s a completely new experience,” he said. “It’s so much fun for the actors and for the audience as well.”
Jones said he was never in spelling bees as a child because he’s always been an “awful speller” and said he remembers his words best when they’re involved in a musical number.
Polisson said for her, one of the more challenging parts of the musical isn’t remembering which words to spell, but rather acting like a child.
“It’s really challenging to portray a kid for that long. Kids have so much energy and you have to use your body in different ways,” she said.
“Bee” will be the final performance on the Wayne S. Knutson stage for Jones and fellow senior Nichole Jorgensen.
“It’s definitely a really good show to go out on,” Jones said. “It’s just been a blast to work on.”
Jorgensen said she has mixed emotions on finishing off the season.
“It’s a little sad because I don’t know what my next show will be, but at the same time I love it,” she said. “It’s a really great part to go out on, so that’s the happy part of it.”
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” hits the stage Friday at 7:30 p.m. and runs until April 19. Tickets are $4 for USD students.