These familiar stories come to life in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a musical performed by second year students at Wellington’s Toi Whakaari, New Zealand’s drama school.
Six main spellers take the stage and the stories they tell are relevant to all of us, says senior acting tutor and director of the show, Nathaniel Lees.
“That pressure put on youngsters to succeed is something that everyone has experienced at some point in their lives,” says Lees, “It comes especially from parents who didn’t do as well when they were younger, who now try to live through their children.”
We’ve also added in a bit where audience members get on stage, says Lees, “Everyone thinks they can spell a bit.”
Documentary Spellbound, which follows eight competitors in the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee in the United States, was required viewing for everyone in the show, which came together in just four weeks.
The full-scale musical will feature live performances from musical director Mark Dorrell, who recently joined Wellington’s Orpheus Choir.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Toi Whakaari, October 18-22.