The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
March 25, 7:30 p.m.
North Charleston Performing Arts Center
5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston
Two fabulous theater lovers give their take on the traveling production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, performed March 24 and again tonight at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center.
Shane: Putnam County Spelling Bee is about a mismatched group of children competing in a frantic, high-stress spelling bee. I really just want to say that they really did save the best for last. This was my favorite musical of the season — and that’s a high bar.
Greg: It’s adults playing children, and I just think there’s something fantastic about watching grown-ups playing children saying “Goddammit.” The song about the kid with the erection was hilarious. It’s like South Park — you’re getting crass, adult humor from kids.
Shane: The script was so smart.
Greg: Every time one of the kids asked for a definition, you just knew you were about to get a laugh. Never disappointed.
Shane: And the fresh pop culture references.
Greg: Does Rachel Maddow even know she’s being affectionately mocked on stage?
Shane: Christian Busath really commanded the stage as the bee wiz with a magic foot, William Barfee. He commanded attention and laughter from the moment he walked on the stage. But everyone embraced their characters and gave everything to every joke. It’s really hard to pick favorites.
Greg: And props to the audience members who participated in the bee.
Shane: One woman got a really hard word right and completely baffled the cast. It was so funny.
Greg: One of those live theater moments you can’t get anywhere else. Then there were the gay dads — whom some might see as the villains of the musical.
Shane: They weren’t villains, they were just overly supportive.
Greg: Is that how we’re going to be? Overly supportive?
Shane: Why do you stare at me when you say “we”?
Greg: This was the second show we’ve seen this year without an intermission.
Shane: And it really worked. So many times the intermission just pulls me away from the show.
Greg: Except one of my friends offered me a drink during intermission, of course. Final thoughts?
Shane: I can’t get over how great the dialogue was. I felt like I missed a few jokes because I was laughing so hard.
Greg: I would definitely go again. I’ll just grab that cocktail beforehand.