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Yosemite High School Theater: Putnam County Spelling Bee

Front, L-R: Ari Bhalla, Mary Weigel, Emilie Neff, Amber Persson and back, L-R: Olivia Mattos, Bryce Talbot, Noah Allen, Jack Rice, Alli Ruiz

OAKHURST — Yosemite High School presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Wednesday, Apr. 4 through Saturday, Apr. 7. The show starts at 7 p.m. in the YHS Theater.

“I hope people will come out and support our show, and the arts at YHS,” says Theater Arts teacher Lars Thorson. “Many people told me that with all of the district’s financial challenges,  I should scale back, and not attempt a musical, but I believe that the student experience is more important than money and by working with generous parents and a supportive district, we can keep producing theater, including musicals, for years to come.”

Ari Bhalla, Amber Persson

The YHS production of The Spelling Bee features nine lead performers and a total cast of 29. The leading performers consist of eight seniors and one junior.

“I love this show because it has comedy and pathos,” says YHS Theater Arts teacher Lars Thorson. “It also has audience participation and forces the actors onstage to improvise with those chosen to participate in the bee.”

The production, which runs for four nights, includes four audience members who are selected to compete and be part of the bee.

Musical direction is being done by the Golden Chain Theater’s James Mierkey and the choreography by YHS Senior Emilie Neff.

L-R Mary Weigel, Bryce Talbot, Noah Allen, Emilie Neff, Alli Ruiz, Amber Persson

“Winner of the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor,” says promotion. “Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is one unforgettable experience.

The Spelling Bee follows an eclectic group of six middle schoolers who vie for the spelling championship while candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives. The tweens spell their way through a series of words, hoping to never hear the soul-crushing ding of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers compete, but only one can win; losers get a hug and a juicebox.”

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a “delightful den of comedic genius.” For tickets and more information, please call (559) 683-4667 ext. 256. Yosemite High School online.

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee cast of characters

  • Rona – Olivia Mattos
  • VP Patch – Jack Rice
  • Comfort counselor – Trish Mahoney, Ari Bhalla
  • Olive Ostrovsky – Amber Persson
  • William Barfee – Bryce Talbot
  • Logainne Schwartzandgrubinierre – Emilie Neff
  • Leaf Coneybear – Mary Weigel
  • Chip Tolentino – Noah Allen
  • Marcy Park – Alli Ruiz
  • Schwartzy’s dad Carl – Ben Johnson
  • Schwartzy’s dad Dan – Jacob Pitkanen
  • Olive’s Mom – Elissa Suderman
  • Olive’s Dad – Hunter Palmer
  • Leaf’s Mother – Lauren Wharton
  • Leaf’s father – Peter Cresci
  • Sibling 1 – Siena Oswald
  • Sib 2  Marigold – Alaura Ferris
  • Sib 3 – Brandi Sneed
  • Jesus – Haley Hammond
  • William’s Mom – Monique Ades
  • William’s Dad – Joel Doss
  • Chip’s Mom – Hannah Harper
  • Chip’s dad – Jerome Garcellano
  • Marcy’s Dad – Ethan Conti
  • Marcy’s Mom – Abby Williams
  • Student helpers – Hailey Rich , Cindra Jimenez

Seated, Mary Weigel, Emilie Neff, Amber Persson and standing, Bryce Talbot, Noah Allen, Alli Ruiz

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