When a gaggle of socially awkward kids deal with their biggest fears and doubts on a stage in front of peers, family and the community, you get a hilarious portrayal of students participating in school spelling bee.

When a gaggle of socially awkward kids deal with their biggest fears and doubts on a stage in front of peers, family and the community, you get a hilarious portrayal of students participating in school spelling bee.

One perk of working at The Duncan Banner is having the ability to view DLT shows early during dress rehearsals. After viewing the most recent production, its clear Duncan Little Theatre (DLT) took a comedic spin with a musical performance when they showcase their talents and abilities in downtown Duncan.

Beginning Friday, Feb. 26, DLT will sharpen their voices and take the stage, competing in the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which features a book by Rachel Sheinkin and a score by William Finn.

Who will win? Who will be sent home? Who can handle the intense pressure of spelling the correct word and going onto the next round?

The show is set for 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 and 27 with a matinee on Feb. 28 at the historic downtown Palace Theatre. Performances will also take place on March 5 and 6. Doors open and 7 p.m. and concession will be open and available for purchase, including popcorn, candy and soft drinks. Also, for those 21 and up, a wine and beer fundraiser will be available as well.

The show will take the audience through an eclectic group of sixth-graders who each have a reason of why they want to win the bee and why they are the best speller in the county.

From the competitive styles of a variety of students, the contestants take the stage along with a few others chosen to compete.

This group of socially awkward contestants grow up before your eyes when they ultimately each face their fear on stage.

According to the shows cast list descriptions: The cast is made up of several main characters which include, shy Olive (Emmalee Hamilton); along with the hyper allergic speller William Barfee (Caden Spurgin) who uses his “magic foot” to help him succeed; next there is the former champion Chip (Justin Sullivan) who struggles with puberty; then there’s the easily distracted Leaf (Alex Rodriguez); followed by the overachiever Marcy (Kennedy Booth) and Logainne (Hannah Barber) who only wants to impress her dads. 

The spelling bee hosts include Rona Lisa Peretti (Leigh McEntire) who is Putnam’s long-time spelling bee hostess. Peretti (McEntire) sits alongside Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Preston Waters) who tries his best to make a good impression.

Sometimes, it’s the simple things that allow the students to overcomplicate their answer and second guess themselves. Will the students figure it out or will it bring them to a crashing halt in the end?

The characters get a dose of reality in the competition and the real life issues they face just may get the best of them if they don’t face their biggest fear.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is sure to deliver laughter to the audience and will make you think your own elementary and middle school spelling bees.

From strong singing voices to cleverly choreographed movements, the cast delivers a well-rounded performance sure to make you wonder what’s up their sleeve next. With a simple auditorium setting, limited set changes and modern costumes, each character developed their own personality, and they would bring a unique spin into a child competing in a spelling bee.

Characters showed fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, joy, embarrassment, hopelessness and defeat at many times throughout the performance.

The cast dealt hands of trying to achieve the most when they compete for the best speller of the night.

From utilizing props to facial expressions, DLT cast members remained in character through multiple scenes.

The production is directed by Veronica Hodgson. 

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and military personnel, however season tickets are available. Tickets can be purchased online or at Distinctive Decor at 901 W. Main Street in Duncan. According to DLT, season tickets include admission to each production in the season on the date of your choosing as well as a bonus admission to a Chisholm Trail Arts Council performance. The cost of season tickets are $45 for seniors and $60 for adults.

The historic downtown Palace Theatre is located at 926 West Main Street.

For more information about the DLT, visit https://duncanlittletheatre.com/ or follow the Duncan Little Theatre on Facebook.

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