Rangeview theater spells out success


Connor Rodenbeck, Review Staff

Feature photo by: Connor Rodenbeck- The cast of the play sings a song as an ensemble. There are several musical performances in the play, including a fan favorite “Pandemonium.”

Who knew that a spelling bee–an event seemingly boring– could be so entertaining? It was dramatized, of course, and was imbued with humorous lines, absurd characters and energetic songs to make it interesting.

Rangeview’s most recent production, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, tells the captivating story of a spelling bee and all of the young contestants participating. Some are shy, some are confident, some are downright strange, but they all have their eyes on the prize.

One thing that was expertly executed was the use of audience members. Four were chosen to be contestants and actually had the chance to spell a variety of zany words.

“I loved the play, it was so funny! Especially when the audience members were part of it,” junior Indi Sandika said after seeing it.

One by one, the students were eliminated for spelling a word wrong. Only two were left standing in an unexpected love story plot twist. The person that I personally wanted to win did not; nonetheless, the ending was endearing and funny, leaving me feeling happy as I left the auditorium.

The play is unapologetic in its humor. Some of it was certainly not appropriate for all ages, but the idea of adult jokes with the premise of a children’s spelling bee is so outrageous that you can’t help but laugh uncontrollably.

Spencer Regan escorts a distraught Matthew Etter off of the stage. You can see this and many more eccentric antics Friday and Saturday night at 7 pm. (Connor Rodenbeck)

This production includes many songs sung by various cast members. All of the main characters had their own solo performances, but the songs were truly the best when everyone on stage joined in to perform.

“My favorite part of the play was the song ‘Pandemonium,’” senior Trinity Stevenson expresses. “It was funny and crazy and the singing was great, too.”

Putnam’s success is due largely in part to the amazing cast. While small, everyone had a unique role to play. From the gay dads, to the magical foot, everyone was integral in the plot’s success.

There were, however, a few standout performances. Seniors Alyssa Carlson, who plays Rona Lisa Peretti, and Kaleb Hacker, who plays Vice Principal Douglas Panch, worked in unison to provide an exaggerated portrayal of spelling bee hosts. Hacker was especially hilarious with his nuanced creepiness he conveyed.

Senior Jared Wolfe was perfectly cast to as the snobby, over-confident, magical-footed William Barfee. Junior Jordan Clanton performed with a lisp, which is certainly a feat in itself. Junior Taylor Snoddy and senior Matthew Etter also gave stunning performances of their respective characters.

Two cast members in particular stole the show for me: Senior Maddy Gaarder and junior Donovan Strouse.

Gaarder played Leaf Coneybear, a completely strange and wild girl who you just can’t stop laughing at. You really root for her character throughout the play. Gaarder is an accomplished actress at Rangeview, and this performance is quite possibly her best yet.

Strouse gave life to a timid, intelligent, and emotional character named Olive Ostrovsky. Perhaps her character was not as funny as some others, but a higher level of complexity was achieved. The extremely poignant song with her character’s parents gave me chills.

Junior Donovan Strouse performs a solo during the play. Many of the main characters have musical performances that are expertly executed. (Connor Rodenbeck)

Strouse stated that this scene was her favorite. “I’ve never had to put so much emotion into one scene before. Yes, it was a challenge, but I wanted it to feel real, and I hope can get that across to the audience.”

Overall, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a production you should see if you can. It is funny, touching, and entertaining. It is definitely pandemonium, but that is what makes it so amazing.

You can still watch it tonight and Saturday night at 7:00PM. Prices are $6.00 for students with activity cards, $7.00 for students without and $8.00 for adults.