Online Staff Report
BYRON, Ill. — It doesn’t take long watching the cast of Byron Civic Theatre’s (BCT) upcoming production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee rehearse to know this show could be something special.
“I have decided to do something different with this cast,” said Director Steve Bartscher. “Instead of controlling every aspect of the production, I have allowed these talented young adults to contribute their own knowledge and passion into the production. I am giving each one some latitude to develop their character the way they think they should be.”
Bartscher has added Byron’s Angie (Huber) Snodgrass as assistant director and has turned over several scenes for the young actress to direct.
Snodgrass graduated last year from North Central College in Naperville, Ill., where she earned her degree in musical theater. Bartscher added: “She is a natural leader. I sat back and watched her block scenes as if she was an experienced director.”
Director Bartscher is also having several cast members choreograph musical numbers in the show.
Newcomer to BCT, Bre Mastrodonato, will be doing choreography for several dance numbers. Mastrodonato has performed in Rockford theater and Christian Youth Theatre (CYT) for many years.
Mastrodonato is a relative of well-known business family Saro and Robin Costa. She is moving to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue a career in singing and acting this summer.
“Bre blew us away at auditions with her ability to play any character we threw at her,” Bartscher said.
Mastrodonato will be playing Marcy Park in the production. Byron’s Ryan Bartscher and Carla Huber will be tackling the show’s other dance numbers. Ryan studied at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He will be playing Chip Tolentino in this production.
Huber is a veteran of the BCT stage and was most recently seen on the BCT stage this past Christmas in the popular 1942 USO Christmas Tour. She will be playing the feisty Logainne in the Bee.
Music Director Dan Mullin said: “The entire cast is doing a great job. This cast has natural music ability. They are picking up the music quickly, and the sounds they are creating are pure magic to an old music director’s ears.”
Rounding out the cast are CYT and Rockford actors TJ Hill, who plays William Barfee, and Andrew Trotter, who plays Leafy Coneybear.
Andrea Woodworth returns to the BCT stage and will play the role of Rona. She was last seen as Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. Woodworth studied business and musical performance at Luther College.
Oregon’s Sandra Smith will play Mitch Mahoney and Byron’s Steve Walters plays Assistant Vice Principal Doug Panch.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee runs April 27-29 and May 4-6. Show times are 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday night, and 2 p.m., Sunday matinees.
For tickets, call (815) 312-3000 or visit the BCT website at www.bctmagic.com.
Posted April 25, 2012