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Feb. 9, 2011
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:

SRU opens ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Can you spell mnemonic? Are you looking for a chance to try your spelling skills, or do you just enjoy a good laugh? If you answered “yes,” Slippery Rock University’s production of the musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is for you. The play opens 8 p.m. Feb. 24 at SRU’s Miller Auditorium.

“The show is a straight-up, witty, fun musical with a vocally talented cast,” said Laura Smiley, SRU associate professor of theatre and the director. “It’s a comedy, but it’s also a commentary. None of the kids are perfect, they all have their foibles, but they’re all good kids.”

The play, which will be performed seven times, is a one-act comedy conceived by Rebecca Feldman with music and lyrics by William Finn. The show centers on a spelling bee set in the fictional Putman Valley Middle School.

“If you have ever been a student in middle school, you’ll recognize the kids of Putnam County,” Smiley said. “They have their insecurities, but they are brought together by competition and a desire to prove themselves. And as in middle school, friendships seem to pop up in the most unlikely places.”

The cast includes Matt Buzanoski, a theatre major from Butler, as Chip Tolentino; Chelsea Watts, a business major from Murrysville, as Logainne Schwartz; Ryan Lubin, a secondary education English major from Bethel Park, as Leaf Coneybear; Nick Benninger, a theatre major from Prospect, plays William Barfree; Kaylyn Shearer, a sophomore music education major from Carnegie as Marcy Park; Emily Cutrell, an early childhood major from Greensburg, as Olive Ostrovsky; Laura Montgomery, a elementary and special education major from Pittsburgh, as Rona Lisa Perretti; Luke Chamberlain, a political science major from Latrobe, as vice principal Douglas Panch; Alexis Stanford, a theatre major from Philadelphia, as Michelle Mahoney; and J. Patrick McGill, a music education major from Washington, as Carl Grubenniere.

Gordon Phetteplace, associate professor of theatre, is the set designer; Thom Cobb, associate professor of dance, is the choreographer; Stephen Hawk, professor of music, is the musical director; Shaun Starke, department of theatre graduate, is the improvisation coach; Andrew Allison, is the vocal director; and Nick Quinn, is the sound designer.

Maya Ogasawara, a theatre major from Japan, is the costume designer; Stacie Marie O’Hara, a theatre major from St. Mary’s, is the lighting designer; Kelly Myers, a theatre major from Natrona Heights, is the props master; Jennifer Nocera, an English major from Volant, works in public relations and Charlene Jacka, a theatre major from Oakmont, is the stage manager; Christian McIlwain, a theatre major from Pittsburgh, and Nikki Thomas, an art major from Tyrone, are assistant stage managers.

The show will be presented Feb 24-25, 27-28 and March 1-2 at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m. Feb. 27. Student tickets are $5 and are available at the Miller Auditorium Box Office or the University Union. General admission tickets are $10. Call 724.738.2645.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.