The poster is a bit misleading.
The poster for Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theater’s latest production, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” is a cartoon, featuring six seated children awaiting their turn to spell at a stand-up microphone.
The cartoon, the spelling bee in the title … It implies a cast of children, an updated version of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Although … the Broadway version of “Charlie Brown” had an adult cast, just as “Putnam County” has an adult cast. Both are musicals. Difference is, “Putnam County” also features some decidedly adult themes – including a hilarious song to begin the second act by Dave Tompkins.
After all, what is a poor young teenager to do when Marigold Coneybear catches his eye? Answer: Fold his hands in front of him. But it’s awfully hard to spell when you’re distracted. As they say, erection destroys perfection!
Spelling Bee follows the travails of six young spellers competing for a regional title in someplace that feels like Indiana. It’s clever, well-written, and though largely a comedy, has its moments of poignance. “The I Love You Song” with Bekah Rowan just hits you in the gut.
See Spelling Bee, and you will: 1.) Know the spelling and definition of syzygy, 2.) Realize how much you’ve missed Kenji Kawaguchi on the local stage – I won’t spoil his entrance as Mitch Mahoney here. 3.) Realizth how much youff mithed Thanda Duro on the local thstage – even if you can’t understand half of what she’s saying or spelling. 4.) Come to the realization that life is pandemonium, and if an erection’s gonna destroy perfection, may it, at the very least, be long-lasting.
Have I mentioned that Jacqueline Marie and Jesse Steele are ridiculously talented actors, or that Tim Casey is cast perfectly as … pretty much himself, that Phil Dore must have been a vice-principal in a past life, or that Juliana Olinka is a pro’s pro?
Great show. Perfectly cast. Laughed my ass off. What more can you ask for?