By: Taylor Roberts ~Staff Writer~
“May I have it in a sentence?” Laughter filled the theater in the Gallagher Student Center last weekend during student’s charming performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” directed by Stephen Skiles.
Xavier Theatre’s 2015-16 season opened with a delightful musical that left the audience smiling from ear to ear. As the winner of Tony and Drama Desk awards, this musical spelled out the story of a group of socially awkward kids finding joy, heartache and a purpose competing at the regional spelling bee.
One of the strongest qualities of this show was its ingenious usage of audience interaction. The performance of an audience- interactive show caused the choreography to seem chaotic at times, but the talented cast overcame this necessary obstacle with its collaboration and memorable songs.
Junior Alex Roberts created an outstanding Olive Ostrovsky with a convincing look of anxious confusion on her face throughout the musical as she navigated her way towards second place in the competition. She also sang spectacularly in her parts of “The I Love You Song.”
Similarly, junior Justin Lee served as a brilliant William Barfee with his hulk-like yells. Although his name was consistently pronounced wrong, he ingeniously used his foot to win the competition and dance the best segments of the choreography by Dee Anne Bryll.
Junior Hannah Shepard made a magnificent Mitch Mahoney, who gave out juice boxes and support to those ejected from the competition, along with giving the audience a taste of her voice in her song “Prayer of the Comfort Counselor.”
The most memorable performance came from senior Sean Burlingame, who showcased the most creative and colorful costume by Gordon DeVinney. This costume suited Burlingame’s engaging performance as Leaf Coneybear, a lovable character who successfully spells a variety of South American rodents with the help of his talking hand. He effectively sang his solo “I’m Not That Smart” and made the audience giggle with his amusing onstage antics.
Sophomore Katie Bauer (Marcy), first-year Cassie Delicath (Rona), first-year Kalie Kaimann (Schwarzy), junior Aaron Krick (Chip) and junior Erin Minion (Panch) also enhanced the production with their performances and showed how cutthroat competition can be among nerdy misfit tweens.
For the first time, the cast in a Xavier Theatre performance even had enough actors involved in the production to carry out a free understudy show last Sunday. Xavier Theatre’s next show will be “This is Our Youth” written by Kenneth Lonergan and directed by Ed Stern on Dec. 3-6.
For information about Xavier Theater visit their website at http://www.xavier.edu/ theatre/2015-2016.