UW-Green Bay theatre program presents musical comedy

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay theatre program will present the musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, this month.

UW-Green Bay theatre Prof. Laura Riddle, who directs the musical, says it basically recreates the experience of a spelling bee.

“The characters are very recognizable,” Riddle said. “They’re eccentric in their own way but they are recognizable and I think people can really relate to the kind of heartache that kids go through in their adolescence.”

The show was written by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin and is under the musical direction of UW-Green Bay music Prof. Courtney Sherman.

One unique feature of the musical is audience participation.

“We sign up audience volunteers in the lobby prior to every performance and four of them are selected to go on stage and they act as one of the spellers,” Riddle said. “They’re treated as a middle school kid in a spelling bee.”

UW-Green Bay senior Molly LeCaptain, who is a musical theatre major, said the improvisation adds an interesting twist to the show.

“A lot of the lines I say are just either off the top of my head or I have to think of them while I’m sitting on stage,” LeCaptain said. “We can throw some crazy words at them, some of them get really easy words. I think the audience is going to really enjoy watching people who aren’t necessarily actors be on stage with us.”

“Whoever comes and sees it, they’re going to laugh,” said UW-Green Bay junior Matthew Harris, a theatre performance major. “Every single time, there’s something new. It’s a brand new experience because of the audience coming in and the improv. It’s one of those laugh until you cry shows.”

Harris said this is the most “over the top” show done by the theatre program.

Riddle says it is meant for a mature audience.

“Some of the language that is used is a little bit more adult than people might expect,” Riddle said. “It’s about middle-schoolers but it’s really meant for an adult audience. And it’s just a lot of fun.”

Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, 19, and 20 and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 20 at the University Theatre in Theatre Hall on the UW-Green Bay campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive.

Tickets for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are $22 in advance, $25 at the door for adults; $15 in advance, $18 at the door for seniors; and $15 for UW-Green Bay students. Order online at www.uwgb.edu/tickets/ or by calling (920) 465-2217 or (800) 328-8587.


Name Year Major/Minor High School Role
Ross Christian Junior Theatre, Performance Emphasis/Humanistic Studies West De Pere High School William Barfee
Shelbi Cox Junior Musical Theatre and Arts Management Tualatin High School Marcy Park
Chelsea Crevcoure Junior Music Theater Notre Dame Academy, Green Bay Bee Keeper/Olive’s Mom
Joe Feltz Theatre Performance and Business Administration Wausau West High School Chip Tolentino
Noel Fricke Junior Theatre Performance and Business Administration Campbellsport High School Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere
Matthew Harris Junior Theatre Performance/Humanistic Studies Minor Washington Park High School, Racine, Wis. Leaf Coneybear
Dustin James Senior History/Theater Pulaski High School Mitch Mahoney
Marta Knodle Junior Musical Theatre and Music Education Neillsville High School Olive Ostrovsky
Lindsay Kujawa Senior Theater Studies/Education D.C. Everest Senior High School, Wausau, Wis. Beekeeper
Molly LeCaptain Senior Musical Theatre/Human Development Green Bay Preble High School Rona Lisa Perretti
Kyle R. Pingel Senior Theatre Major, Performance Emphasis/Arts Management Minor Chilton High School Douglas Panch
Erin S. Zimmermann Sophomore Theatre Performance and Music Performance D.C. Everest Senior High School, Wausau, Wis. Beekeeper


Name Year Major/Minor High School Crew Position
Alyssa Falvey Junior Theatre Performance Major/French and Humanistic Studies Minor Waukesha North High School Wardrobe Supervisor
Alex Foseid Senior Technical Theatre Major/Humanistic Studies Minor Middleton High School, Middleton, Wis. Stage Manager
Jason Kumpula Junior Theatre Technical Design Lakeland Union High School, Minocqua, Wis. Master Electrician
Derek Knabenbauer Senior Theatre Performance, Psychology/Human Development Bay Port High School, Green Bay, Wis. Wardrobe Crew
Emily Terrell Paulsen Senior Theatre (Musical Theatre)/Music and Arts Management Minors De Pere High School Assistant Stage Manager
Jason Szmanda Senior Theatre, Psychology, and Human Development Majors East Troy High School Run Crew
Brittni Werner Senior Technical and Design Theatre/Graphic Design and Human Development Edgar High School Sound Design
Natalie VandenHuevel Sophomore Theatre, Musical Theatre Emphasis Kimberly High School Assistant Stage Manager
Hadley “Alex” Maria Vogl Sophomore Theatre and Psychology Major/Human Development and Music Minor Bay Port High School, Green Bay, Wis. Sound Technician


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