Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Civic's *Spelling Bee* advances to national finals

The Civic's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
has won the Washington state community theater championship and is
going to the national finals in Rochester, N.Y., in late June.

Spelling Bee dominated at this weekend's Kaleidoscope theater
festival, winning seven of 12 awards in all and, most importantly, the
overall production award. Even better (from the Civic's point of
view), none of the other three states in Region IX of the American
Association of Community Theatre sent representatives -- which means
that, in effect, Spelling Bee gets to skip right past regionals and go
directly to the national competition.

ACT Richland (an auditioned group of high school students from the Tri
Cities) won the Excellence in Company Creativity award for its
production of Don Zolidis' !Artistic Inspiration, about two hack
writers trying to create a produceable and therefore awful play.

Bremerton Community Theatre won best set design and the Treasure Award
for Arthur Miller's All My Sons.

For its production of Doug Wright's creepy two-hander about a real
estate agent showing a wealthy but sinister man around a huge mansion
where recently some horrible things have happened, Wildwood Park, the
Richland Players won for best sound, best lighting and best direction.
Wildwood Park was also named the alternate production for advancing on
to Rochester.

Spokane Civic Theatre made the most of its home court advantage,
winning for best costumes (Jan Wanless), best choreography (Kathie
Doyle-Lipe), best design and production team, best ensemble, "Magic
Moment" (an adjudicator-selected award for most compelling episode
within a play, given to Lacey Bohnet for her lead singing in "The I
Love You Song") and Outstanding Performance (Mark Pleasant as Leaf
Coneybear, the hippie speller who goes into trances) -- along with the
all-important "Company Advancing to the National Festival" award.

Doyle-Lipe, who directed the show, reports that in the three months before the national competition, the Civic will probably schedule "a couple" of Spelling Bee performances -- both to keep the performers sharp and to serve as fundraisers. After all, it will probably cost in excess of $30,000 to  send two dozen people (cast, crew and band) to Rochester for a week.

Visit the Washington State Community Theatre Association blog for more
information. Visit "Stage Thrust" at Bloglander, too.

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