Students Spell Entertainment with New Fall Musical

September 17, 2012


Front Row L-R:  Josiah Williams, Ben Gaddis, Alicia Thomas, A. J. Curry, Morgan Green

Back Row L-R:  Kaybee Brown, Peyton McDermott, Greg Schamberger, Laura Schirmer

By Brigitte Graf '13 and Frank Radosevich II

How do you spell "entertaining"? The Bradley theatre department is sounding it out with its fall production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

The musical, which debuted on Broadway in 2005, features six young and ambitious spellers competing in a local spelling bee to win a trip to the national bee in Washington, D.C. The show follows the quirky and rambunctious children as they face both personal and spelling challenges in their quest for first place. 

Kaybee Brown, a sophomore from Chicago studying theatre arts, will play the part of Mitch Mahoney, an ex-convict who is completing his community service at the spelling bee. His character is the competition's "comfort counselor" who soothes eliminated spellers with a hug and juice box. Brown said the play is his first production on campus.

"I haven't done a musical since 2007, so this was a way for me to get back into it. This is the perfect show for that because it's an ensemble-based show. There are leads, but everyone has a few stand-out moments and a particular moment when they shine," he said.

Brown, who transferred this fall to Bradley from Texas, said his time on campus has been priceless and credits the theatre department for drawing him to the Hilltop.

"I wanted to come here to get the most bang for my buck, and it's definitely been worth it," he said. "The direction and the attention to detail for performers are great here. We have a lot of staff who can tailor lessons to particular students to help us learn what we need and perfect what we need to perfect."

Alicia Thomas, a senior in theatre arts, will take on the role Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, the youngest character in the play and a neat freak who speaks with a lisp. The production is Thomas' sixth at Bradley and she hopes the audience will reconnect with their own inner child during the energetic performance.

"I think it will bring people back to their childhood a little bit," she said. "Audiences can expect a lovely rollercoaster ride and a night full of laughs. Also, participation. We want the audience to participate in everything; it's a very interactive show."

Performances are at 8 p.m. Sept. 20-22, 27-29 and 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 23 and 30 in the University's Hartmann Center Theater. Tickets are $9 for students; $14 for Bradley faculty, staff and senior citizens; and $17 for adults. For tickets, call 309-677-2650.

For more information, follow the link to the Peoria Journal Start, "Arts Plus,"  Sunday, September 16, 2012 article:

Posted with permission by Peoria Journal Star