Underground Theater Decatur Takes a ‘Spelling Bee’ | Arts and theater

The Decatur Underground Theater will present the musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”.


DECATUR – Can you spell “finally”?

After nearly two years of preparation, the Decatur underground theater will be on stage to present the musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Contest ” November 12-14 and 19-21 to Decatur Civic Center.

The story and the performance are enjoyable for the actors as well as the audience.

The musical tells the story of six students competing in a county spelling contest. Unique characters bring the show to life; however, public participation helps along the way. “There are a lot of moments with improvisation,” said Crystal Claros. “We’re all supposed to be on our feet, ready to go. “

First performed on Broadway in 2005, the music is original by the piece. It includes touching and moving music, according to the director. “You will feel a deep connection with at least one or more of the characters,” said director Kim Barding. “There is something that applies to everyone.

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Some of the topics in “Spelling Bee” have adult themes. “But you’ve got all this comedy in between,” Barding said.

With audience participation and actor improvisation, every show should be different. The spectators will have the possibility before the show to fill out a questionnaire. “We’re not going to put someone on stage who doesn’t want to be,” Revis said.

Barding took on the challenge of directing his first DUT production with “Spelling Bee”.

“It’s a cast with only nine cast members,” she said. “But it’s a hilarious spectacle.”

Casting was pretty easy for Barding. “Every member of the cast can identify with their character,” she said. “There is something relevant to everyone. “

Another advantage Barding had with directing the musical; they prepared to perform it several times. “Spelling Bee” was due to be on stage a week before the pandemic closed theaters. “Then we postponed it until May, then we postponed it again until July, then again until November,” Barding said.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Contest 1 110921.JPG

Decatur Underground Theater will present the musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”.


“Little Shop of Horrors,” the first show of this year’s theatrical season, premiered in September, had already been picked; so the timing for their next show was tricky. “We don’t usually do back-to-back shows,” producer Sandy Revis said. “We had no choice. All of our money is invested in these shows. If you don’t do these shows, you don’t get your money back.

“But we were ready,” actor Wesley Krall said.

“This is the most prepared for a spectacle I have ever felt,” said Jacob Deetz.

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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