Bunnell, FL – Picking up six Tony Award nominations and walking away with two, there’s obviously something about the ‘25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ that resonates with audiences and critics alike.
Perhaps it’s the tale of half a dozen quirky youth – each with their own unusual habits – such as slipping into a trance-like state to spell or using their ‘magic foot’, intermingled with the stories of four adults with some serious baggage of their own, that allows the audience to breathe a global sigh of relief, as we learn we’re not all that weird after all, at a spelling bee of all places.
Whatever the case may be, the play serves as only the third performance on the Flagler Playhouse stage, in a post COVID world, and as the perfect reemergence for The Spotlight Performers.
Reinvigorated after the 2020 break, Collin Sloan, owner and founder of the young adult theater company is as energetic as he was five years ago, launching the company with ‘Spring Awakening’.
“It was a much needed break. It was almost like we were working overtime even though it is a summer production theater, so it was nice to have a little bit of a break and get those creative juices flowing. Coming back for our fifth anniversary, everything lined up so perfectly,” he said.
Previously a Jacksonville University college student, Sloan is transferring to the University of Florida, to pursue more of what he loves – you guessed it, theater.
“There are so many cool classes that they’re doing there, there’s actually one that I’m taking this fall called ‘Producing for Regional Theater’ which is perfect for what I do. It’s definitely helping with my past-time as well as preparing me for the future when I become a professor or even a traveling producing company.”
Co-directing and playing Leaf Coneybear in this weekend’s show, Sloan continues to hone his talents outside of the classroom.
‘25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ brings just enough brevity to be in line with the theater company’s mission, while remaining lighthearted and racy enough to sustain a society that’s had it pretty rough for the past year and a half.
“Basically this is a hilarious, audience involved musical that combines a spelling bee with a musical and is super fun,” said Sloan. “It’s definitely a lighthearted show but also has some lessons to learn from it, so it’s a nice balance between the two.”
“This was a super good show for us and staying focused on making sure we had the young talent,” he said, with a cast chock full of Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas High School graduates, along with returning regional actors from the Orlando area.
With a first run of the show last weekend, actress Caitlin Eriser had to make a stop on Sunday for the matinee.
“I loved the show. It’s near and dear to my heart because I did it years ago in high school. It’s such a cute show and the fact that there’s so much to it and you only need less than 10 actors to do it, is always very interesting,” she said.
“I think it’s the perfect choice coming out of the pandemic and Collin always does good work, so when I saw the cast list, I knew I had to come and see it because it was going to blow me out of the water, and they did, a hundred percent.”
‘25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ presented by The Spotlight Performers
Flagler Playhouse 301 E. Moody Blvd. Bunnell, FL
Fri. Jul 23rd 2021, 7:00 pm
Sat. Jul 24th 2021, 2:00 pm
Sat. Jul 24th 2021, 7:00 pm
Sun. Jul 25th 2021, 2:00 pm