‘Putnam County Spelling Bee’ auditions set for Dec. 10-11

Online Staff Report

WOODSTOCK, Ill. — Open auditions have been scheduled for TownSquare Players’ March 2013 production of William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s hilarious Tony Award-winning musical that involves four “audience spellers” as well as actors: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Open auditions will be in the lower level of Grace Lutheran Church, 1300 Kishwaukee Valley Road, Woodstock, Ill., from 7 to 9 p.m., Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 10-11.

Artistic Director Roger Zawacki and vocal director Rosemarie Aiello are seeking nine actors (four women and five men) who can sing well for the production, which will be performed March 8-24, 2013, at the Woodstock Opera House. No appointment is needed.

Those auditioning should prepare 16 measures of an upbeat song that shows their vocal range. Zawacki and Aiello suggest the musical number be presented with some staging or movement.

Auditioners should bring a copy of the music; an accompanist will be provided.

Those trying out will also be expected to do a short improvisation and some simple movement/dance.

Callbacks, if needed, will be at Grace Lutheran Church at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 13.

After one cast meeting in December, Woodstock rehearsals will begin in earnest Sunday, Jan. 6, and will typically be held three evenings a week (usually Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays) until Tech Week (the week of March 3). Auditioners are asked to bring their list of conflicts to auditions; preference will be given to actors with the fewest conflicts.

Zawacki and Aiello are looking to cast actors as the following characters (who all do some solos in the show):

The spellers (junior high students played by adults ranging in age from 18 to 40s)

• Chip — a Boy Scout and last year’s winner of the spelling bee; athletic, social and expects to win again; sings a lot of high notes.

• Leaf — second runner-up at his school spelling bee and he never expected to compete in the county bee; home-schooled with his many siblings; makes his own clothes.

• William — has a lot of health problems and can breathe out of only one nostril; spells words on the floor with his “magic foot;” he is bullied and is a bully himself.

• Logainne — the youngest speller, she is driven by the pressure of her two dads. She has been drilled on words for hours a day and has a slight lisp.

• Marcy — the ultimate over-achiever; a parochial school student who assumes that God expects perfection from her; she speaks six languages.

• Olive — a word lover and an only child with often-absent parents. She fills her time reading the dictionary.

The adults

• Rona Lisa Parretti (mid 30s to 40s) — Putnam County’s long-time spelling bee hostess and local Realtor, she won the third annual spelling bee and keeps the current bee running smoothly.

• Vice Principal Douglas Panch (40s or early 50s) — junior high principal who is frustrated with his life; he’s a last-minute substitute word pronouncer at the bee.

• Mitch Mahoney (30s or 40s) — the spelling bee “comfort counselor” who has a bouncer’s physique and demeanor; this is part of his community service assignment.

For any additional questions, auditioners should contact the director at rogerzawacki@comcast.net.

Posted Dec. 5, 2012

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