The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

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Don Gingold / Friday, February 17, 2017 / Categories: Past Shows

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

June 16-25, Naperville Central HS Auditorium

Event date: 6/16/2017 8:30 PM - 6/25/2017 4:00 PM Export event
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Music & Lyrics by William Finn
Book by Rachel Sheinkin
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman
Originally Directed on Broadway by James Lapine
Originally produced on Broadway by:
David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo
Barrington Stage Company, Second Stage Theatre
Additional Material by Jay Reiss

A Tony award-winning musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee invites audience members onstage to participate in the hallowed middle school tradition of spelling complicated words while trying to suppress thoughts of cute classmates, family drama, and self-doubt.

This 2005 Broadway hit by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin has an improvisatory feel and features as few as nine actors, three of whom portray exasperated spelling bee moderators and various parents, while the other six become the adolescent geniuses whose suspenseful spelling attempts and subsequent monologues move the plot along. The story follows spellers Olive, Logainne, Leaf, Marcy, Barfee, and Chip, who show varying levels of skill and interest in participating. For example, Leaf is certain he doesn’t know any of the words given to him, but a strange trance overtakes him each time it’s his turn at the microphone, causing him to advance against all odds. Barfee is a champion with an unusual technique that makes him unstoppable. Marcy doesn’t envision a world where she isn’t the best, and Logainne’s dads feel the same way about their daughter. Chip would be a great contestant if there weren’t a hot girl in the front row.

Meanwhile, the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is moderated by a nostalgic former champion, Rona Lisa Peretti; a surly word pronouncer named Panch who has little patience for the young contestants; and comfort counselor Mitch Mahoney, whose presence is required by his community service mandate.

While this ensemble cast is responsible for plot and music, some of the laughs go to audience participants who are selected to join the bee and try their skill at some of the most difficult words in our language. Some of the catchiest songs from this modern score include “I Speak Six Languages,” “Magic Foot,” and “Pandemonium.”

Despite being a story about children, we encourage you to leave your youngest at home: adult language and sexual content give this show a PG-13 rating.

Opens June 16 for two weekends!

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 3:00. All performances at the Naperville Central High School Auditorium. Get Your Tickets

Director: Jake Ganzer

Vocal Director: Eric Downs

Music Director: Emma Gingold

Producer: Jeff Sand

Costume Designer: Sarah Eaves

Technical Director: Tina Goings


Cast and Crew Bios

Alexandra Alontaga (Marcy Park) - Alexandra is elated to be taking part in one of her favorite shows with Summer Place Theatre. Alex was recently in Women of the Bible (Magnified Gift), and also originated the role of Eleven in the currently running parody, Strangest Things! (Random Acts Chicago).  Favorite past roles include Perfect from Columbinus (MunroePark Theater Guild) and Columbia from Rocky Horror (Latitude 41). She would like to give a special shoutout to her sister Sammi, a lover of Spelling Bee, for being one of her biggest supporters!

Abi Bradshaw (Swing) - Abi is thrilled to be a part of her second production with SPT!  She was most recently seen in Aida at her high school, but was in Jesus Christ Superstar with Summer Place last season.  In her free time, she enjoys cooking and yoga.  She would like to thank her family and friends for their unwavering support! Praise be to God!

Jonathan Booth (Vice Principal Doug Panch) - Jonathan has been acting off and on for the past 12 years, and this is Jonathan’s first show with Summer Place.  He is extremely excited to be involved with the Theatre!  Big thanks to his wife Kelley, a talented music teacher, and his 3 adorable children!  Also, a big thanks to the cast, crew, and all who make the dream of theatre come alive!  Break a Leg!!!

Christina Duris (Olive Ostrovsky) - Christina is thrilled to be a part of this production of Spelling Bee.  Some of her favorite roles include: Cathy (Last 5 Years), Wendla (u/s) (Spring Awakening), Elle Woods (Legally Blonde), and Belle (Beauty and the Beast).  Christina would like to thank her parents for their unending love and support.  She would also like to thank Matt and all of her friends for their encouragement.  She could not have done this without all of you.

Mitchell Kinn (William Barfée / Carl Dad) - Previously studied voice performance at The Boston Conservatory, but lately he can either be found at the library surfing the net for new memes or in the park on a warm spring day searching for a new dog to pet.  Mitchell is grateful to be reminded by this role and opportunity that growing up is a never ending process and always worth laughing about, even when it seems most lugubrious.  Last show: Next to Normal (Gabe). #gayrussia #Chechnya2017

Sam Martin (Leaf Coneybear / Dan Dad) - Sam is VERY excited to be able to play an exaggerated version of himself in Summer Plsce’s production of Putnam!  His most recent productions include Zach in Gifted (Steel Beam), Protean in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (Citadel Theater), Barnaby in Hello Dolly! (RCLPC Theater), and Neleus in Mary Poppins (Deerfield Family Theater).  Sam is also proud to be starting his sophomore year at The Chicago College of Performing Arts and working his way towards a BFA!

Eliseo Martinez (Chip tolentino / Jesus) - Eliseo is e-l-a-t-e-d to return to Summer Place in one of his favorite shows.  Previous credits include Big Fish (Will Bloom), Next to Normal (Dr. Madden), Camelot (Mordred), How to Succeed... (Mr. Bratt), and Forever Plaid (Sparky). Much love to his fiancé, Eric, and huge thanks to Ali, Kiersa, Oliver, and family for their gracious support. 

Meg McGarry (Rona Lisa Peretti) - Meg is overjoyed to be back at Summer Place, where she previously played Brooke in Legally Blonde and Lily in The Secret Garden.  A preschool teacher’s aide/household ninja and musician, Meg is also a pretty amazing wife and sort-of-appreciated mother of two mostly awesome children.  She really is a fan of good spelling, but also of Zumba, cheese, pretending to enjoy competitive running, peace and quiet, office supplies and Scotchy Scotch.  She is looking forward to traveling to Australia.  Someday.  Maybe.

Emrose Seidenberg (Logainne Shwartzandgrubenierre) - Emrose is thrilled to be working with Summer Place and this incredible cast and crew for the first time.  She is so excited to be attending Interlochen Academy for the Arts as a senior in the Theatre Arts program.  Em would like to thank her voice teachers and her family for supporting her in her musical theatre journey, and a special thanks to the Spelling Bee cast for making this show so enjoyable and “chimerical”!

Markos Smith (Swing) - Markos is thrilled to be taking part in his 4th show with Summer Place.  Outside of musical theatre, he enjoys singing and playing football.  This is by far his favorite show he’s ever done, and would like to take a moment to thank his two parents who’ve been so supportive of him and all his endeavors.

Zenia Walker (Mitch Mahoney) - Zenia Walker is honored to be a part of a wonderful production at Summer Place after primarily doing theatre at Metea Valley High School.  She is blessed to be a part of such a creative and caring cast with such artistic directors.  Zenia would like to thank her family and friends who have continually motivated her through all challenges.

Jake Ganzer (Director/Choreographer) -  Jake is happy to return to Summer Place, where he choreographed last summer’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar.  Some previous directing and choreography credits include Mary Poppins (The Drama Group), Hairspray, Pippin, Urinetown, The Addams Family (Victor J. Andrew High School).  “Love and appreciation to my friends, teachers, and above all family for the support and guidance.”

Eric Downs (Vocal Director) - Eric is glad to be back at Summer Place after starring in Jesus Christ Superstar last season. He has music directed, played piano, and appeared on stage for musicals and plays throughout Chicagoland.  As a teacher, he has worked in several states and outside the U.S. in a wide variety of settings.  Thanks to SPT for this opportunity!  Much love to Eliseo and the kids, and big thanks to Ali.  Enjoy the show!

Emma Gingold (Music Director) - Emma is thrilled to be making music with the small-but-mighty band under the stage.  She conducted the pit for Summer Place Theatre’s Jesus Christ Superstar last summer and Camelot in 2015, and she has also music directed for productions at Lyons Township High School and J. Sterling Morton West High School.  When she’s not doing theatre, Emma accompanies choirs and teaches piano lessons.  She lives in Westchester with her husband, Josh, and her four-legged kid, Bonnie.

Tina Goings (Scenic Design/Technical Director) - New this season to Summer Place, Tina is excited to debut with Spelling Bee.  Currently she is the designer/TD for Glenbard East High School where she recently worked on CATS, Elephants Graveyard, and The Miser.  Tina also enjoys working props, and she has held positions at Des Moines Metro Opera and Long Lake Camp for the Arts.  Tina studied Theatre Design and Technology at NIU.

Josh Wroblewski (Lighting Design) - Josh is a freelance lighting designer while also working for the University of Chicago and Western Illinois University.  Josh is excited to work with the talented team of The Summer Place for the first time.  He obtained his MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and past credits include the 29th/30th Young Playwrights Festival and Rutherford’s Travels with Pegasus Theatre, Becky Shaw, and Foxfinder (Las Vegas Valley Award-Best Lighting 2015) among many others. Check out his work at

Sarah Eaves (Costume Design) - Excited to be returning to Summer Place Theatre for her second year!  She has always had a heart for the preforming arts.  She started acting on stage at age 2 and still shares the spotlight in her spare time.  She was the costume director for several non-profit organizations such as: Refuge Productions, Take 9 Productions, Smile for Nikki, and Family Christian Center.  She has designed costumes for Jesus of Nazareth, Scrooge: The Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Music Man, and The Jungle Book.

Allison Scigalski (Stage Manager) - Allison is happy to be working with Summer Place after working on last year’s Jesus Christ Superstar.  She loves working behind the scenes and on stage with local theater companies.  Her favorite roles include Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show, Cookie in Rumors and Ernestina in Hello, Dolly! Allison sits on the board of Fox Country Players based out of Yorkville, IL.  She would like to thank her loving husband Adam and fabulous parents for putting up with her crazy schedule.

Chelsea Smith (Assistant Stage Manager) - Chelsea is thrilled to be working with Summer Place Theatre for the first time.  She is a junior studying education at Illinois State University and is actively involved in campus theater, performing as a member of ISU’s Improv Mafia.  When she is not at rehearsal or school, she works at Naperville’s DuPage Children’s Museum as a Public Programs Facilitator.   She would like to thank Summer Place Theatre for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing production, as well as the opportunity to perform as an actor in their upcoming play, Father of the Bride.

Jeff Sand (Producer) - Currently the Treasurer of The Summer Place, Jeff is extremely grateful to this talented cast and crew and to the directors.  He has been on the Summer Place board of directors since 2008, and has served as technical director and designed and mixed sound for many Summer Place shows over the last several years.  Faborite SPT credits include The Secret Garden (sound operator), Don’t Dress For Dinner (technical director), Joseph...Dreamcoat (co--technical director, sound design), and H2$ (sound design).  Jeff is also an on-call technician at COD’s McAninch Arts Center and works in information technology at the Villa Park Public Library to pay the bills.

Steven A. Zeidler (Producer) - Steve has been seen regionally in: Fiddler on the Roof (Tevye), Our Town ( Mr. Webb), Pippin (Charles the Great), Man of La Mancha (Don Quixote/Cervantes), Annie (Daddy Warbucks), 42nd Street (Julian Marsh), Kiss Me Kate (Fred/Petrucio), Kismet (Wazirof Police), Camelot (Lancelot), Jesus Christ Superstar (Caiaphas), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat (Levi), Oliver (Mr. Bumble), and The Wizard of Oz (Prof. Marvel/Wizard).  A graduate of Elmhurst College, Steve majored in Theatre, Speech Communication, and History.


Is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre Internationsl (MTI).
All authorized rehearsal materials are also supplied by MTI.


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The Summer Place, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and receives our funding through sales of affordably priced tickets, program ads, concessions, grants, and from the kind donations of our patrons.

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