MONTVILLE, NJ- Entering the Dr. Robert O. Stafford Auditorium at Montville Township High School, one can witness the curtains sliding to make way for the collection of talented musicians, singing perfectly in sync with the group of instrumental musicians in the pit.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was the spring workshop-production by the Montville Township High School Drama Club. The performers staged the Tony Award-winning musical comedy on May 11. The performance was based on the 2005 Broadway production directed by James Lapine and produced by David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbra Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Barrington Stage Company, and Second Stage Theater.

The MTHS Drama Club’s performance of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was created under the direction of Director Scott Baird, Vocal Director and MTHS Choir Director Kristen Markowski, Pit Director and MTHS Orchestra Director Andrew Havington, and Student Directors Skyler Herman and Jessica Blake.

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“The show is overall just really funny so even when things get hard and we all get a little nervous, the jokes are still there so we’re able to have a good time and remember that we’re putting on a good show regardless,” Student Director/Choreographer Blake said, describing the overcoming of challenges by cast and crew during the show’s development.

This latest performance by the MTHS Drama Club continues a recently decided-upon initiative to perform a second, “workshop-style” musical each year in addition to the traditional spring musicals, which can be traced back to the Drama Club’s performance of The Boyfriend in 1974. Last year, the Drama Club debuted this initiative, performing Big Fish as a workshop-style musical alongside The Drowsy Chaperone as the club’s traditional spring musical.

Describing the reasoning behind the directors’ decision to perform this show as opposed to other ideas, Director Baird stated, “We definitely try to find stuff that challenges the kids and is the best way to showcase the talent we have here at Montville, so we thought that this show… for a workshop musical… was the best way to do so.”

Having been met by thunderous applause and standing ovations at the conclusion of their first and last performance in early May, the MTHS Drama Club is busy back to work, wasting no time in the behind-the-scenes preparation of their 2018-2019 year. Announced so-far for the upcoming school year is the Broadway Night, which is scheduled for October of 2018 and the performance of a musical rendition of James and the Giant Peach, which is scheduled for November of 2018. While other performances will be put-on, they are yet to be announced to the public.

One of the many talented cast members was MTHS sophomore Jeffrey Gallup, who played Chip Tolentino in this musical, and was invited to perform the national anthem at the Prudential Center for a Seton Hall basketball game against the Providence Friars earlier this year. Describing his experience of being a part of the cast, Gallup said, “I have a great time with these people. They’re a bunch of weird, crazy, wonderful people.”

Cast List (in alphabetical order)

Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre played by junior Carly Benson

Mitch Mahony played by senior Jacob Choc

Chip Tolentino played  by sophomore Jeffrey Gallup

Leaf Coneybear played by sophomore Matt Krase

Rona Lisa Peretti played by senior Jackie Montano

Douglas Panch played by senior Jack Motherway​​​​​​​

Marcy Park played by senior Brooke Nagel

William Barfee played by senior Matt Shupack​​​​​​​

Olive Ostrovsky by sophomore Jadyn Silverberg​​​​​​​

Pit Orchestra

Kristen Markowski on Piano

Krista Sweer on Synthesizer

Dakota Singerline on Percussion

Max Taylor on Reeds

Justin Louie on Cello

Andrew Havington as Director

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