Blackfriars Theatre hosting Putnam County Spelling Bee

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Blackfriars Theatre in Rochester will present “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” July 12-21.

The performance is part of the Blackfriars Theatre Summer Intensive. The entire cast and crew is made of college students and rising high school juniors and seniors.

Cast members Melanie McBride and Alexander Christie discussed the show and the Summer Intensive Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.

“The show follows a group of students who are competing in a spelling bee,” said Christie. “As they spell these words and try to get further in the competition, they start learning what it means to compete with other students, what it means to be a winner, and what happens when you might not get the prize at the end. And they’re guided by educators who are running the spelling bee. And the show just unravels from there.”

Audience members will have the opportunity to become spellers in the show. “We have an opportunity for four guest spellers for each show,” said McBride. “It’s very exciting. There will be a table when you come in. You can volunteer if you’d like to be part of that. And we will select four people to be a part of it and you can compete right along with the spellers so it should be fun.”

McBride has been part of the Summer Intensive since it first began four years ago. “I think it’s amazing because it gives students a chance to work in a professional environment, in a situation where they may not have that access otherwise, in the Rochester area, which is really wonderful,” she said. “We’re all being trained as professionals and getting a sense of what that environment feels like. We’re also learning how to be able to function in professional environments outside of this. All the actors, and even the stage managers, and even some of our technicians too have assistants or are run by students. So we have student representation in all aspects of the program, which is really great.”

For Christie, this is his first experience with the Summer Intensive.

“Throughout this process, I think the entire team has really just pushed me to become a better artist, to take risks that push me to be the best that I can be,” he said. “Whether it be singing, dancing, or acting, I think all those aspects are really helping me work as a team and create this really great community with the cast.”

Get your tickets for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” by calling (585) 454-1260. Tickets can also be purchased online.

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