25th Annual: Updates and New News

From the proposed seating plan to talk of a kid’s show, ‘25th Annual’ is shaping up to be one of the best musicals to come from Mrs. Konkle.

Katie Seleb, Staff Reporter

After last year’s tragic setback (there’s a global pandemic? You said we’d be able to handle a global pandemic!) that meant an early curtain call for the spring production of  Once Upon A Mattress, the theater department is back in full swing with the show 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee! The spellers, cheerleaders, and moderators of the Bee are at a comfortable 3/4ths of the way through the show- but as the department approaches opening night on April 16, they are gearing up to put on another successful livestream and in-person production! 

    Thanks to a few reasons- the extended winter break, for one- there’s been less time than in previous years for the crew to set the production up in full. Despite this, 25th Annual’s simplistic setup and blocking has allowed the students to breeze through the set of the stage. Despite having to spell many uncommon words, the lines are not only memorized, but there is even some improv with minor quips and funny background actions and tussles.

    Ruby Tolnai, a freshman this year, says that she loves the dancing and choreography. 

“It’s honestly been awesome that I’m here,” she said. Another freshman, Moore, relates very hard to their character, Olive Ostrovsky. 

    “This has been my dream role since I knew what a dream role was,” they said, adding that like their character, Moore has read the dictionary in its entirety- several times, in fact. Being a first-year drama club member, they say, it’s certainly their best. 

    Mrs. Kayla Konkle, director of the show and head of the drama department, plans big for the opening week- though of course, nothing’s been set in stone quite yet. For one, there’s plans for more seating- 50 people a night- and like was done for Clue!, a livestream out to the folks at home. 

    New this year that the drama department has been talking about is, during tech week, live-streaming a version of the show to younger audiences at local elementary schools. In years prior, shows like Into the Woods and West Side Story were given special performances for elementary schools to receive a version of the show, albeit watered down for the younger audiences. Though all students in the show are excited for the concept (and getting out of class to do it!), some students express mixed feelings.

    While sophomore Sophie Mendez is glad more kids get to be exposed to the theater arts again, other kids are upset over the potential lack of some of the humor that would fly over kid’s’ heads. In fact, an entire song would have to be cut for the kid’s showing. 

While Tolnai does hope the kids find the show to be funny, Moore admits that kids have a “very specific sense of humor that is unfunny”. Despite all the talk, this hasn’t been set in stone yet as a full possibility.

    25th Annual shows this April, a Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule the 16th, 17th, and 18th. 

Junior Abby Wojtaszek takes the center stage as Loganannie Schwartzengruibiner, while freshmen Moore and Tolnai wait on the bleachers behind for rehearsal to start for the 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee Behind her, cheerleaders/ensemble members practice one of the cheers that are scattered humorously about the show.
(Katie Seleb)