The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

King’s Players’ The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is the Catalina Wine Mixer of stage productions. A night with limitless possibilities, the perfect showcase for one to live up to the promise within oneself; whether one be a forty-something aspiring event planner, or a twelve-year-old speller with a dream. Fantasies will be shattered; love will be found and lost, purpose discovered, hopes fulfilled, all due to the goddamn 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Director Hailey Hill and the entire production staff and cast have crafted an uproarious and well rounded show, one which provides unrelenting laughter and sublime musical numbers. The eponymous spelling bee is contested between a group of elementary school students, and a handful of guests from the audience. The Bee is an unpredictable affair, where one must be prepared to spell anything from “syzygy” to “cow,” and vast knowledge of South American rodents is a definite plus. Overseen by champion speller (and powerhouse singer) Rona Lisa Peretti (Christine Rabey) and the wry and hilariously monotonous Vice Principal Panch (Wyatt Merkley), The Bee is full of generic characters, and yet all are able to surpass convention to create truly memorable performances.

Patrick Avery-Kenny shines as William Barfee (that’s pronounced Bar-fay, accent aigu) an awkward scientist with a magic knee-high-sock-covered foot. Leaf Coneybear (Robert Popoli) is a scene-stealer if there ever was one. Popoli brings Leaf to life in a totally outrageous and surprisingly emotional way, and Leaf is the personification of The Bee’s limitless possibilities. Chip Tolentino (Stephen Ingram) displays wonderfully that even an unwelcome visitor can be a life changing experience.

The supporting characte