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Monday, February 1, 2016

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" @ Broadway Rose

I saw "Spelling Bee" many years ago at Portland Center Stage. I was somewhat surprised that I remembered so little. It tuns-out that a lot of the dialogue is improvised, (perhaps nightly, though I'm not sure.) I find this a very interesting aspect of the show, particularly because it is not publicized anywhere. The best lines come from the extremely high-strung vice-principal (Lyle Arnason) Other standouts include Troy Pennington as William Morris Barfee, and David Swadis as misfit among misfits Leaf Coneybear. There is also quite a bit of audience participation. "Spelling Bee" is the kind of show that may reward repeat viewings. In fact, research revealed that there is an "adults-only version. I do not know if Broadway Rose plans to mount that version during the run.

Broadway Rose's production is nearly non-stop fun, oddly enough, sometimes the music gets in the way. For me, the best part of the show was the improvisation, that and the fully committed goofiness of the cast.

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