Arts & Entertainment

Audience Members Can Be A Part Of Upcoming Spotswood High School Drama Club Production

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SPOTSWOOD, NJ - How do you spell Putnam County? How about pococurante? Well, if spelling is or was your thing, then make sure to check out the Spotswood High School Drama Club's upcoming March 16, 17 and 18 performances of the "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

The musical features an interactive element that will include four members from the audience for each of the show's four curtains.

"This is a new element to our production this year and we're excited to see what will happen," explained the show's director, Annie Williams. "There are four different audience participants each night. We do have some slots 'reserved' for 'celebrity guests' including the faculty and members of the community, for the remaining spots, interested individuals will enter in a drawing to be on stage for only $1.00."

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Wiliams is an English and Drama teacher at the high school. The teacher is joined backstage by fellow Spotswood High School teachers, Sarah Carino-Koza, Dominic Sposato, Melissa Markle, Jeff Michaels, Joseph Schwartz, Barbara Furman and Barbara Plachinski,

Last year, the Drama Club took on the much-beloved musical, "South Pacific." "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is a rather new musical when compared to the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, which hit the Broadway stage for the first time in 1949. Rachel Sheinkin's "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"  debuted on Broadway in 2005 and completing more than 1,000 performances on the Great White Way before closing in January of 2008.

 "Spelling Bee" is a show about how to deal with challenges and understanding that our wants might not always be what we need," Williams explained when asked why the play was chosen for this year's theatrical production. "From a dramaturgical standpoint- "why this play, why now?" - the answer is that teenagers are more stressed and distracted than ever. Trying to balance countless extra curricular activities, school work, and a social life, all to graduate at the top of the class and be successful seems insurmountable. This play showcases the struggles children face today with humor and heart."

"This play helps explain the science of achievement and how to live a fulfilling life," Williams continued. "Yes, these characters are flawed, but they make choices to better themselves and live compelling futures. We want our students to embrace their idiosyncrasies and reveal their vulnerabilities to live a shame free and satisfying life, much like a majority of the characters "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

This year's cast includes Jenna Citro, Andrew Faulkenberry, Connor Jaedickle, Matt Pelham, Adi Zacks, Devin Ryan, Emily Rocha, Sean Wesen, Clara Melvin, Delaney Yaniak, Maia Revilla, Evan Maggio, Sabrina Farrell, Emily Abrams, Emily Bell, Isabella Patrone-Black, April Gorman, Alyse Messeroll and Evan Maggio.

Zacks portrayed the female lead in last year's production of "South Pacific" while Weson gave a memorable portrayal of the crowd-favorite, Luther Billis. Several current cast members were also a part on last year's run as well.

Opening night for "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is Thursday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. There will also be a 6:30 p.m. performance on St. Patrick's Day as well as two shows on Saturday, March 18. March 18 will feature a 2 p.m. matinee performance and a 6:30 p.m. evening curtain.

Tickets for the show are $10 for adults and $6 for seniors and students. Advance tickets can be purchased by telephoning 732-723-2200 EX. 6108 or by emailing Barbara Furman at BFurman@spsd.us. Tickets will also be available at the door prior to each performance. For a shot to be on stage, audience members must enter a drawing at the performance they are attending. The cost to enter the drawing is $1.

In case anyone was wondering pococurante is actually a word. It was listed by Business Insider as one of the ten most difficult spelling words along with antediluvian, xanthosis, chiaroscurist, logorrhea, succedaneum, autochthonous, appoggiatura, ursprache and laodicean. Pococurante is a synonym for indifferent.

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