As performing arts centers and indoor venues begin to open up again, the Wilson Performing Arts Center is moving forward with new summer projects and productions. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” is being put on with a new twist this summer thanks to a COVID-19 Relief grant from the Iowa Arts Council.
Auditions for the show were held on June 18th and June 19th at the Wilson Performing Arts Center, and rehearsals began on Tuesday, June 23 with the full cast social distancing as much as possible on the stage. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” tells the story of six pre-teens vying to be the champion and move on to the national spelling bee. Other characters include the spelling commentator, the word announcer, and a comfort counselor. The show also includes audience participation, where audience members also get the chance to compete on stage in the spelling bee.
This cast and crew involves thirteen people from various parts of Southwest Iowa. The production team includes: Director Abigail Sherman, Red Oak; Musical Director Elsa Wemhoff, Red Oak; Stage Manager Lauren Tunnicliff, Clarinda; Assistant Director Jenna Klyn, Red Oak. The cast includes: Maddie Bruce, Red Oak; Adam Clayton, Glenwood; Sarah Clayton, Glenwood; Shelby Hindman, Malvern; Gage Reed, Shenandoah; Jared Sherman, Red Oak; Jedd Sherman, Red Oak; Elliott Smith, Shenandoah; and Ashleigh Sons, Shenandoah.
The goal for this production is to try and simulate how a spelling bee would be held during a time like what our community is experiencing now due to COVID-19. Although those on stage will not be required to wear masks, the show will feature many health practices that have become a staple in everyday life, such as constant hand-sanitizing, social distancing, and more.
To make the production as safe as possible for both the audience and the cast, the show is being held at Chautauqua Pavillion in Red Oak. The show will run Aug. 6-9, starting at 7:00 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with a 6:00 pm performance on Sunday, August 9th. Tickets will be $5, with the hopes that a lower ticket cost will allow more community members to take part and enjoy this fun show. Feel free to bring a picnic, beverages, lawn chairs and audiences are strongly encouraged to wear masks should they choose to attend the performance, for the well-being of the entire cast. Please call the Wilson at 712-623-3135 for more information!
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Wilson Performing Arts Center 300 Commerce Dr. Red Oak, IA 51566
Performing Arts and Education Association of Southwest Iowa