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  • 1.  25th Annual...Bee ensemble?

    Posted 11-26-2021 23:35
    We're considering The 25th Annual Putnam Co. Spelling Bee for our spring musical, and I'm curious if anyone has done this and had success adding in an ensemble (of spectators/family members, angels to accompany Jesus, etc.) -- or if this is even okay to do? We wouldn't be adding/changing lines, but I'm imagining them singing the harmony/chorus for the soloists' songs, along with the rest of the spellers. 

    I know some roles (Schwarzy's dads, Leaf's siblings, Olive's parents, etc.) were originally doubled with spellers but I assume they don't have to be, so that gives a few additional roles with lines/solos.

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    Sullivan Mackintosh
    (she/her)
    Drama Advisor & Theater Director
    Canby High School 


  • 2.  RE: 25th Annual...Bee ensemble?

    Posted 11-27-2021 09:04
    We did it last year with an ensemble of seven. They played the secondary characters and came out for Magic Foot, Pandemonium, I Speak Six Languages, and the Finale. I thought it worked very welll.

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    Ken Buswell
    Drama Teacher
    Peachtree City, GA
    http://mcintoshtheater.org/

    Theater kills ignorance
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  • 3.  RE: 25th Annual...Bee ensemble?

    Posted 11-27-2021 09:39

    I had an ensemble play the "goodbye committee". They also played the parents and I dressed them up as a choir on one of the goodbyes. I think it is the one sung by the comfort counselor. They also played angels with Jesus.
    I did not use them in other numbers such as Pandemonium, but I suppose you could. I think the first time I directed the show, I had an ensemble of 6.
    It's a great show! 



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    Grace Stanton
    Drama
    Valencia High School
    CA
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  • 4.  RE: 25th Annual...Bee ensemble?

    Posted 11-27-2021 13:47
    We did it last May with a cast of 32!  We did not double any of the parts and had two ensemble groups: one was the parents of the spellers who were seated on stage the entire show and sang in most of the ensemble numbers from the bleachers.  The second ensemble was a group of featured dancers who were Mitch's "Misfits".  They were in all of the Goodbye songs in addition to Prayer of the Comfort Counselor, Pandemonium, and I Speak Six Languages.  It worked very well!

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    Laura Russo
    Teacher/Director of Theatre Arts
    Chatham High School
    NJ
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  • 5.  RE: 25th Annual...Bee ensemble?

    Posted 11-28-2021 22:59

    Hi Sullivan!

    First I think it's a great show and my students and community loved it. Involving the audience as spellers is so fun, that also gives your production team a special role to create the table in the lobby to have audience members sign up to spell. And then give the audience their numbers, instructions, and to seat them. What fun! 


    When I did it, I double cast the spellers, Mitch, Rona, and the VP. Then I cast all of Coneybear's siblings (we are a 6th-12th grade school so this enabled me to use MS kids, but also freshman). Coneybear's parents, Jesus, the two dads, Olive's parents - They were all played by the other cast on their "off night" and all sat in the first three rows. It was especially fun for them to act in the audience- they talked to people around them in character. And then got to interact when their child was eliminated- when Logan left her two dads followed her out. They made the choice whether the dads learned something or continued their behavior on the way out. Coneybear's family stayed and watched the Bee, even though Coneybear "left" the auditorium. And they weren't cast the same way as the other cast- it was based on who could sing those parts. One of my Chip's and one of my Mitch's - sang the I Love You song- that is super high! 😊 Things like that. And a couple characters opted out of the 2nd role too- on their off nights they helped collect the spellers in the lobby.

    Overall it was a great double cast experience- they were invested in both and performed in both. And supported each other like crazy. My younger kids who played Coneybear's siblings still talk about what's awesome experience it was as a first show- they got to watch both cast create the characters and learned a lot by watching- they only came into the rehearsals the first week, and the last two - but were invited to come every day to watch if they wanted to.


    Just one more option if you are up for double casting! 😊

    Break a leg!
    Shawn Hann



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    Shawn Hann
    Denver School of the Arts
    CO
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  • 6.  RE: 25th Annual...Bee ensemble?

    Posted 12-02-2021 23:10
    Good evening,

    We had the main characters but added other spellers as ensemble members to make pandemonium, actual pandemonium. We pretty much stuck to the script for everything else.

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    Crit Fisher
    Lighting/Sound Designer
    New Albany High School
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