“I only sleep three hours a night, I hide in the bathroom cabinet, and I’m not allowed to cry.” That’s just one of the quotes that sums up the anxiety-ridden, most intense and humorous pretend spelling bee I’ve ever witnessed.

    That’s right, folks. Crookston High School actors are back at it with this spring’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and it couldn’t have come at a better time with the news of another snow storm trying to hold us back from enjoying a new season.

    The (approximately) 90-minute play will be shown April 13, 14, and 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the CHS Auditorium. A special showing will also be held April 16 after the annual senior citizen’s brunch.

    Musical numbers in the “Spelling Bee” dominate as do the talented actors who portray the characters selected to participate in the competition. Each and every character has their own “quirk” and most in this play match their quirk with an anxiety or two.

    Sure, it’s safe to say that everyone has their own “story”, but these characters have some doozies. Without giving too much away, you’ll find humor, social awkwardness, joy, heartache, anger, eagerness, relief, and acceptance.

    The rivalry between the characters is also sometimes shocking, I noticed when my daughter (who I like to call my “assistant” and who happily joins me for most productions) covered her ears.

    Life is “pandemonium” and this showing taught me that, perhaps, “the best speller won’t necessarily win.”

    Another “must see” from another wonderfully-directed play by Beth Carlson and crew. Congrats!

    Director’s Notes courtesy of Beth Carlson: “As a spelling challenged person, I live in awe of anyone who can spell without the help of Google. This musical showcases some amazing children who have chosen to make spelling their avocation, (definition, please) amusement, distraction, entertainment, pastime, relaxation, and sport. It is hard to put into words, much less spell them, how much fun this show has been to direct. I am always confident that the perfect cast will evolve and I have never been disappointed. We have been very fortunate this year to have Cindy Fahser join our team and I can’t imagine doing a musical without Maryann Knotek, who can play anything in any key! Phyllis Hagen created the physical characters with her talents as a costumer, and Pat Seidel, Trey Everett, and Steve Krueger combine their talents as builder, artist, and technical expert, to create the world in which our characters live. We hope you enjoy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee!”

    Cast and crew:

    • Blaine Asman - Charlito “Chip” Tolentino, Dan Schwartz, Olive’s Dad

    • Sarah Ryan - Logainne Schwartzundgrubenniere

    • George French - Leaf Coneybear

    • Justin Pietruszewski - William Barfee

    • Victoria Proulx - Marcy Park

    • Jessica Willits - Olive Ostrovsky

    • Linnea French - Elaine Cheshire Waldridge, Carl Grubenierre

    • Anna Huck - Rona Lisa Perretti

    • Logan Johnson - Vice Principal Douglas Panch

    • Gina Visness - Midge M. Mahoney

    • Eliza Meyer - Assistant to the Directors

    • Sophia Rezac - Sound Technician

    • Janae Luckow - Light Technician

    • Beth Carlson - Director

    • Cindy Fahser - Assistant Director

    • Mary Ann Knotek - Accompanist

    • Phyllis Hagen - Costumer

    • Pat Seidel - Set Builder

    • Trey Everett - Set Art Consultant