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'Spelling Bee' cast delivers B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T performances

McNicholas theatre presented The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee to three sold out audiences the weekend of April 16-18.

Director Ms. Teresa De Zarn, McNicholas Class of ’76 and Broadway veteran, was joined on her creative team by Musical Director Mrs. Xan Waddell Jeffry and Choreographer Mrs. Leslie Bonner-Baum.  Senior Emily Taylor, who played former spelling bee champion Rona Lisa Peretti, said, “Our choreographer was amazing. She was fun to work with and did a great job of making choreography fit the show.”

Ms. DeZarn, who chose the show because of the persistence of senior Gavin Duffy and the ability to make it “COVID-friendly,” said, “I had the best time rehearsing this show with my amazing cast and stage management crew. I was genuinely delighted in getting to know all of the wacky, wonderful characters as my actors made them their own.”

Gavin, who played the eccentric and energetic Leaf Coneybear, said that Spelling Bee was his favorite of the seven McNicholas productions he has performed in because of the fun characters and because the cast had such a strong connection.

Emily agreed, “The rehearsal process felt effortless and easy because we were so into our characters and we were just excited to be able to perform. And we really bonded during performance week and that made it that much more special.”

Gavin, who plans to major in acting and hopes to one day be a “TV doctor” said, “McNicholas theatre has pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and develop confidence. For each show, I had to be open with a whole new group of people. I remember my first McNicholas show; I was the only freshman cast in that show, which was very scary, but the upperclassmen welcomed me in and made me feel comfortable.  That’s one of the things I really enjoy about McNick theatre—students of all grades connecting and working together for the same goal.”

“McNicholas theatre has pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and develop confidence. For each show, I had to be open with a whole new group of people. I remember my first McNicholas show; I was the only freshman cast in that show, which was very scary, but the upperclassmen welcomed me in and made me feel comfortable.  That’s one of the things I really enjoy about McNick theatre—students of all grades connecting and working together for the same goal.”

McNicholas theatre has pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and develop confidence...one of the things I really enjoy about McNick theatre—students of all grades connecting and working together for the same goal.

Gavin Duffy '21

Performers singing on stage during musical.
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