The Chelsea High School Drama Club will be presenting the musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, April 7, 8, and 9, at 7 P.M. in the auditorium. Students are excited to be performing before an audience for the first time in two years.
“When the pandemic hit, we were two weeks away from opening our musical, and I was the lead. Then school got canceled,” recalled Xavier Vargas, senior. “We did do a production over Zoom, but it feels so much better to be on stage in the auditorium. The chemistry between the actors is unmatched.”
Xavier has been a member of the Drama Club since 8th grade, when he participated in Shrek The Musical. Now Xavier is a stage manager, and is working alongside his friend, Tatiana Umana, who is portraying William Barfeé, in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
“It’s broadening my interest in theater and production. Xavier helped me grow as a stage manager for our last production,” said Tatiana, senior. “I always wanted to audition for one of the productions, and this season, I wanted to take the initiative.”
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is about a middle school spelling bee. Defensive William Barfeé is a new scholar in the district. Conceited about his intelligence, he has few friends. As William Barfeé advances to the final round, he realizes that he has more in common with his fellow students than he originally thought.
“It’s unlike any other spelling bee,” explained Tatiana. It has a variety of characters with their own quirks. All the characters are nerds.”
Every outrageous character is the comic relief, according to Xavier, who remembers being eliminated from a district spelling bee when he was in the 4th grade after spelling the word, “receptacle,” incorrectly.
“That will stay in my head forever. I will never forget that word,” laughed Xavier. “I was confident in myself. I was in the semifinals. I was so upset.”
Xavier enjoys taking part in the musical from the new perspective of a stage manager. As an actor, he was only responsible for noting his own character’s directions; now Xavier is documenting the stage directions for the whole cast.
“My favorite part about being off stage is being able to see them [students] from the first read-through to now, when we are doing full read-throughs in costume,” said Xavier, about seeing the play develop.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has a cast of nine, a crew of four, and will have live music accompanying the play. Tickets cost $7 for teachers, students, and seniors, $10 for adults, and can be purchased at the door or directly from Drama Club members.