25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

I put a beeline spell on you

Broadway Rose celebrates its 25th with another 25th, the musical comedy "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"

By CHRISTA MORLETTI McINTYRE

Make yourself disposed for a facetious crepuscule.

Can you use that in a better sentence? Get ready for a warm, witty serenade to logophiles everywhere, and to the outcasts of Putnam County. Putnam County, if you haven’t been there, is somewhere in the imaginary Midwest, where bread is white, a little German is in the accent, and the sweet demeanor of farmland manners still resides. And The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is, appropriately, the first production of Broadway Rose Theatre Company’s 25th year.

Spelling Bee 6

What’s up in this decade-old alphabet soup of a musical comedy? Amy Jo Halliday, the Portland actress with the classic comedic timing, enters stage left as Putnam County’s real estate magnate, Rona Lisa Peretti. She loves “The Bee,” and with her beautiful soprano and jocular phrasing serves all night as its commentator and co-moderator. Her fellow moderator is Vice Principal Douglas Panch, played by Lyle Bjorn Aranson, whose body language is reminiscent of a former Soviet police junior lieutenant’s: Vice Principal Panch could use a few yoga sessions to yank the tension out of his body. He’s had a mysterious sabbatical from the Bee, but now returns as judge of the word-hounds as he also casts a flirty eye on Ms. Peretti. The pair are like an Abbott and Costello packing the heat of a 90-pound thesaurus, aided by Mitch Mahoney (Brian Demar Jones), who is fulfilling his community-service sentence by handing out juice boxes and a warm shoulder to those who flub their spellings and must leave the stage.

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