"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" has all of the trappings of a great musical: audience participation, improvisation, and wry jabs at the English language. In their second-ever production, Curtain Callers take on the Tony-winning musical tonight and tomorrow.
Curtain Callers, Bowdoin's only musical theatre group, impressed the campus with last year's performance of "Hair," but "The Bee" promises to be an even larger theatrical feat: the performance has led its student actors to connect with their inner child.
"It's really difficult to play a child without overdoing it," said Co-director Jordan Payne '12, "[especially] a child with adult issues."
First performed in 2004 with music and lyrics by William Finn of "Falsettos" fame, "The Bee" touches issues of identity and family without ever leaving the school gym.
Payne and co-director Ally Kuriloff '12 chose the play because it would allow for more solos and lines for all its cast members than a show like "Hair."
Although pleased with reception of last year's production, the directors were not sure how many people would attend auditions for "The Bee."
"In hindsight, I wish we could have had a bigger show because there was a lot of interest this time around," said Payne.
The play's cast is composed in equal measure of newcomers and students who participated in "Hair."
Advised by Professor of Music Robert Greenlee, the musical and club are entirely student-run. Patrick Martin '13 is the group's music director, and Tim Locke '14 its pianist.
Payne and Kuriloff hope that the club will continue to stage musicals after their graduation.
"We feel like we filled a gap," said Payne of the scarcity of musicals staged on the Bowdoin campus.
The community will have two opportunities to see whether the show's sting lives up to the buzz—"The Bee" is being staged both tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium.
Free tickets are available at the Student Information Desk in Smith Union.