Hamden Mainstage Ensemble presents 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

HAMDEN >> Hamden High School’s production company, Mainstage Ensemble will be presenting the Tony-award winning, contemporary musical comedy, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The production is directed by Hamden High School’s new theater teacher, Mrs. Hollie Michaels. The musical runs Thursday, March 26, to Saturday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. The production features improvisation and audience participation. Four audience members are selected to join the cast on stage as additional contestants in the spelling bee at each performance.

The musical centers around an eclectic group of six students who vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home life, 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 enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get a juice box.

The cast is led by Sara Courtemanche as Olive Ostrovsky. Sara has appeared in previous Mainstage Ensemble Productions such as Secret Garden and Charlie Brown, as well as with the professional Connecticut Free Shakespeare and The Center for Creative Youth. Mitch Mahoney is played by senior Joseph Benitez who has also performed in various Mainstage productions, as well as the Connecticut Free Shakespeare.

The cast also includes Ali Mandell (Rona Lisa Peretti), Joey Santone, (Vice Principal Douglas Panch), Mia Laguna (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere) Ray Looney (Leaf Coneybear) Chase Brown (William Barfee), Alex Blair (Chip Tolentino), Alyssa Santos (Marcy Park) and a host of other unforgettable characters played by the ensemble featuring, Tevin Gardner, Brandon DiMichele, Amy Nicefaro, Edward Larsin, Maisie Albis, Sean Humble, Izzy Marchand, Nicollet Laframboise, and Nina Allison.

Director Hollie Michaels recently relocated to Connecticut from New York City to teach at Hamden High School. As a director Hollie has had productions all throughout the tri-state area. She is also a published playwright and accomplished theater educator, having received the opportunity to director students in a Broadway performance as part of the Disney Musicals in Your School program. Just this past fall, she participated in Royal Shakespeare Company’s Write Here Write Now with Matilda program, where she taught scene writing to fourth-graders, who created a new scene for “Matilda the Musical.” One scene was selected and performed on Broadway for a special performance.

Seating begins at 7 p.m. Reserved seating is $12 for adults. Senior Citizens are only $10 for any performance. A special Hamden High School Student and Faculty ticket price of $6 is available for the Thursday night performance only. To reserve a ticket call 203-407-2040 ext. 3102 or email hhsmainstage@yahoo.com.

For more information, visit www.hamdenmainstage.org.