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Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Review of Drury Lane's Production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by E.A. Polk

ex·pres·sion: A Review of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
E.A. Polk (copyright E.A. Polk 2014)
The Smash Hit Musical Comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee runs through August 7, 2014 at Drury Lane in Oakbrook, Illinois. Laughs abounded throughout the show and the usual comedic twists and turns left the audience entertained during a performance of the production on Thursday, June 26, 2014.
Did he just say that? What was that? The mystery of the messages throughout the show matched the hilarity of banter from characters like William Barfee, played by Eli Branson as well as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, portrayed by Carolyn Braver.

1. a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface. Compare aerial perspective, linear perspective.

2. a picture employing this technique, especially one in which it is prominent: an architect's perspective of a house.

3. a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; vista: a perspective on the main axis of an estate.

4. the state of existing in space before the eye: The elevations look all right, but the building's composition is a failure in perspective.

5. the state of one's ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.

Ahmed Shaaban stepped out of real life into the scripted reality of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He was an audience member who, as part of the show, was allowed onstage for full participation in the festivities. His run was cut short by the scripted reality of the non-cast limit of participation. Three words in a row set the unwitting cast member at a disadvantage and, ultimately, eliminated him from the staged contest. Shaaban was a show-stealing hilarity. He quipped, posed and joked for laughs from fellow audience members during his run.
verb (used with object), de·sired, de·sir·ing.

  1. to wish or long for; crave; want.

2. to express a wish to obtain; ask for; request: The mayor desires your presence at the next meeting.


3. a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment: a desire for fame.

4. an expressed wish; request.

5. something desired.

6. sexual appetite or a sexual urge.

Stephanie Soohyun Park portrayed the overachieving Marcy Park. The character was tired of winning. She stated that throughout the Bee. Casting opted for the stereotypical listing of the character, as Wikipedia presented the character as, “the poster child for the Overachieving Asian.”
Additionally, ex-convict and “Official Comfort Counselor,” Mitch Mahoney was portrayed by African American actor Johnathan Buter-Duplessis. Were these simply accepted stereotypes or overt statements of society?
adjective, sub·tler, sub·tlest.

1. thin, tenuous, or rarefied, as a fluid or an odor.

2. fine or delicate in meaning or intent; difficult to perceive or understand: subtle irony.

3. delicate or faint and mysterious: a subtle smile.

4. requiring mental acuteness, penetration, or discernment: a subtle philosophy.

5. characterized by mental acuteness or penetration: a subtle understanding.

The show-stealing audience member, Ahmed Shaaban appeared to be of Italian, Hispanic or possibly Middle Eastern descent. Rona Lisa Peretti, played by Frances Limoncelli, stated, “The theme for Mr. Shaaban’s 4th birthday party was The Sopranos.”
Did I laugh at the joke? Heartily. Within the context of the show, it was certainly appropriate. Do I rely on layout tricks and font manipulation to lengthen stories? Definitely. I am a white American male, raised in the 1980’s and is living in the 21st century.

The performance schedule for THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. ($40), Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. ($40) and 8 p.m. ($45), Fridays at 8 p.m. ($50), Saturdays at 5 p.m. ($50), and 8:30 p.m. ($50), and Sundays at 2 p.m. ($50), and 6 p.m. ($45). Lunch and dinner theatre packages are available. Student group tickets start as low as $30 and Senior Citizens start at $35 for matinees and $50 for a matinee luncheon package. For reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at630.530.0111, call Ticket Master at 800.745.3000 or visit

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