Back Stage Review “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at RLT.

Spelling Bee

The word is “captivating.”

Can you use it in a sentence?

The performances in RLT’s ’25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ were indeed “captivating.”

C – A – P – T – I – V – A – T – I – N – G

~Photos and Review by Dana Nollsch~

’25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ at Reno Little Theater was originally scheduled two years ago. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the show to be postponed until now. I am so happy that RLT has the chance to offer its audience this outstanding musical.

’25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ The Story

’25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ follows a group of unique sixth graders competing in The ’25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’. When I say Unique, I mean Very Unique indeed. One of the fun aspects of the ’25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ is that there is audience participation. A few lucky audience members are picked to be part of the spelling bee. 

As each speller is called up to the microphone, the announcer tells a bit of backstory about the commentator. These tidbits are hilarious. The writing is witty with a non-stop hilarity that will make your face hurt from laughing.

The Performances

This ensemble cast has the unique ability to make you laugh and feel the despair each of these kids are going through. Well, not only do the kids face life’s challenges, but the adults also do. Every moment is filled with brilliance. From the writing to the acting, you will be entertained. When you see the show, pay close attention to the actors’ body language and facial expressions. 

The Music

These actors bring this musical to life with powerful, inspired performances. This is one of those productions where the music blends with the dialog in such a way that you forget that it is a musical until the performer belts out the song with such power that you feel your emotions welling up inside of you. 

The Setting

Reno Little Theater makes excellent use of the size of the stage to create the scene, a school gymnasium transformed into the stage for the competition. We have come to expect a very high standard from RLT, and they certainly live up to that standard for this production of ’25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’. My hats off to the production crew for the high standard that they hold themselves to. It does not go unnoticed.

Why should you see the ’25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’.

If you are looking for a funny, intelligent, and moving show, this is for you. There is a hint of politics, but not in a negative way. 


Tobie Barton as Logainne SchwartzandGrubenierre

Cori Cooper as Rona Lisa Peretti

Ryan Costello as Leaf Coneybear

John Frederick as Douglas Panch

Bernadette Garcia as Marcy Park

Edison Garcia as Mitch Mahoney

Ryan Kelly as William Barfée

Georgia McKnight as Olive Ostrovksy

Jared Lively as Chip Tolentino

Production Crew: 

Director: Stacey Spain

Vocal Director: Brittney May

Choreographer: John Paul Rivard

Stage Manager: Mona Young

Assistant Stage Manager: Nohemy Velasco

Intimacy Director: Adriano Cabral

Assistant Intimacy Director: Thomas Rao

Dramaturg: Megan Lee Aguas

Lighting and Sound Design: Chad Sweet

Scenic Design: Logan Reagan

Accent Coach: Rosie Brownlow-Calkin

Technical Director: Oliver Bream

Musical Numbers

  1. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – Company
  2. The Spelling Rules/My Favourite Moment of the Bee – Panch, Rona, and Spellers
  3. My Friend the Dictionary – Panch, Rona, Olive & Company
  4. The First Goodbye – Company
  5. Pandemonium – Chip & Company
  6. I’m Not That Smart – Leaf Coneybear
  7. The Second Goodbye – Company
  8. Magic Foot – Mr. Barfee & Company
  9. Pandemonium (Reprise) – Chip, Mitch, Rona & Company
  10. My Favourite Moment of the Bee 2
  11. Prayer of the Comfort Counsellor – Mitch & Company
  12. Why We Like Spelling – Spellers
  13. My Unfortunate Erection (Chip’s Lament) – Chip
  14. Woe Is me – SchwarzySchwarzy’ Dads & Company
  15. I’m Not That Smart (Reprise) – Coneybear
  16. I Speak Six Languages – Marcy & Girls
  17. The I Love You Song – Olive, Rona & Mitch
  18. Woe Is Me (Reprise) – Schwarzy & Company
  19. My Favourite Moment of the Bee 3
  20. Second – Rona, Olive, Barfee & Company
  21. Finale – Company
  22. The Last Goodbye – The Company

Dates for ’25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

  • Evening show dates: July 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, August 4, 5, 6 @ 7:30pm
  • Matinee show dates: July 24, 31, August 7 @ 2 pm
  • Pay What You Decide Performance: Saturday, July 23
  • Post-show talkback: Sunday, July 31

For more information, go to RLT’s website at:


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