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Posted on: February 13, 2019

Temecula Presents Announces the Cast and Crew for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

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Temecula Presents announces the cast and creative team for a new, free, student-led musical production arts education internship featuring talented youths (ranging from 12 to 17 years of age) on stage and behind the scenes.  Some of these students may be performing for the first time and others are seasoned thespians. 

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will have six performances in The Merc (MAR 22, 23, 29 & 30, 2019 @ 7:30 pm and MAR 23 & 30, 2019 @ 2:00 pm) through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI); Music and lyrics by William Finn; Book by Rachel Sheinkin; Conceived by Rebecca Feldman with additional material by Jay Reiss.

Rehearsals for this unique, student-led production began on MON, JAN 7, 2019 providing three-months of mentorship from experienced artistic advisors and technical production masters (all volunteering time and expertise) resulting in a full-length musical production for this inaugural Temecula Presents’ Arts Education Internship.

Six awkward spelling champions learn that winning (and losing) isn't everything. Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor.  An eclectic group of six students vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming ‘ding’ of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee causes audiences to fall in love, both with the show itself and all its endearing spellers.

Tickets are $15 and all six performances are in The Merc.  Purchase tickets online at TemeculaTheater.org, in person at the Ticket Office (42051 Main Street), or call 1.866.OLD.TOWN (1.866.653.8696).

The creative vision for Temecula Presents’ Arts Education Internship is to provide youth with the opportunity to create a show from top to bottom at no cost to the participating  performers and crew. The experience these talented teens are receiving is unique as they are directly involved in every aspect of producing and presenting the show. 

 The Arts Belong To All: Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are all at the core of this program.  The arts, including theater, enrich the lives of all who come in contact with it, from the artistic team and the performers to the audiences who ultimately experience and participate in this mutually beneficial process.

MEET ‘THE BEE’ CAST

Scotty H (William Barfee) Some of his favorite roles include Piggy (Lord of the Flies); Alfred (Holy Musical B@man); and one of the Proud Captains for TVHS Improv Team.

Emily N (Olive Ostrovsky) Although performing on stage is her passion, Emily recently had the opportunity to work as the Assistant Director for the student-led show The Tin Woman and discovered the responsibility behind a production.  Previous credits: Janet van de Graaff (The Drowsy Chaperone);  Lucy (13 The Musical); and Mrs. Banks (Mary Poppins).

Moana P (Rona Lisa Perretti) is a senior at Great Oak High School and began performing when she moved to California in the 8th grade.  Her first production was Shrek: The Musical and she has been performing ever since. She has been a part of 16 productions over the past four years.  Some of her favorite roles have been Mama Ogre (Shrek); Mrs. Corry (Mary Poppins); and Trix (The Drowsy Chaperone).

Drew R (Vice Principal Douglas Panch) is beyond thrilled to be in his first community production!  Drew is a senior at Great Oak High School and is a co-president of the Great Oak Theatre Company.  After High School he plans on going to a junior college with the hopes to eventually pursue a career in teaching elementary school.

Ava S (Marcy Park) has performed in over 30 productions at Temecula’s Theater!  Her past performances include Bambi Bernét (Curtains); In The Heights; Sister Mary Robert (Sister Act); Ariel (The Little Mermaid); and Fiddler on the Roof (Golde).  Ava is graduating from High School this year and plans to continue pursuing musical theater in college.

 Jack S (Leaf Coneybear) is a sixth grader at James L. Day Middle School.  Jack has performed with the Temecula Elementary School Drama Club as Charlie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory); Linus (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown); and Gaston (Beauty and the Beast).  He has also performed with the City of Temecula Youth Musical Theater in 13 the Musical; Fiddler on the Roof; and most recently, Flotsam (The Little Mermaid).

Preston S (Mitch Mahoney) has been playing Ice Hockey since age of four practicing five days a week, hoping to pursue a career in Hockey. Preston also plays classical guitar and studies music.  Previous credits include The Pirates of Penzance Junior; Annie Get Your Gun; and Peter Pan; several short films and a TV commercial.

Preston T (Chip Tolentino) previously played George (The Drowsy Chaperone) at Great Oak High School and Uncle Fester (The Addams Family).  This is his first show with the City of Temecula.

 Helaina U (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere) is a junior at Great Oak High School, involved in theatre for a few years now, she has already been in well over 15 productions.  Favorite roles: The Chaperone (The Drowsy Chaperone); Crystal (Little Shop of Horrors); Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz); and Ursula (The Little Mermaid).

MORE ON THE CREATIVE TEAM

Sean B (Director) is making his directorial debut.  As a Temecula local, Sean has gained numerous credits at Temecula’s Theater: Jojo (Seussical); Archie (13 The Musical); Hugo (Bye Bye Birdie); and Fred (Cheaper by the Dozen); and, most recently, Rising Stars 2019 (Cabaret at The Merc / The Barn Stage Company). Regional credits include: Titanic; Newsies; and The Little Mermaid (Moonlight Stage Productions); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Moonlight Youth / AVO Playhouse); and Pugsly (The Addams Family / Costa Mesa Playhouse). Sean also earned the 2016 National Youth Arts Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor (Junior Division) at age 13.

Jillian B (Music Director/Choreographer) is making her debut in these two new roles.  Having just completed a six-month run of Mamma Mia! in Escondido, Jillian has enjoyed making the switch from performing onstage to directing behind the table (and piano).  Regional credits: Ali (Mamma Mia! / Welk Resort Theatre); Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Addams Family (Performance Riverside); Mia (Lego Friends to the Rescue! / LEGOLAND California Resort).  Other favorite credits include: Princess Fiona (Shrek the Musical); Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family); Baker’s Wife (Into the Woods); and Toffee (Zombie Prom).

Samantha C G (Assistant Stage Manager) is an 8th grader at Linfield Christian Middle School.  She loves acting and it has become such a huge part of her life.  She has been a part of several shows, including Annie; Aladdin; and so many more. Samantha decided that she wanted to take a step back and learn about all the moving parts behind stage so that she could better understand the whole process.  Although she enjoys theater, she hopes to pursue a career in law later in her life.

Danielle B (Stage Manager) has worked in theater since childhood, both on stage and behind the scenes.  She attended a Performing Arts Magnet Elementary School, is a Chaparral High School graduate, holds an undergraduate degree from CSU San Marcos in Business Administration, and is currently a Teaching Credential Candidate for High School English and Drama at APU (DEC 2019).

Shawna S (Producer) is a professional photographer, based in Temecula.  Shawna serves as the photographer-in-residence at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater and for the City of Temecula.  She holds a Degree in Theatre from San Diego State University and has been involved in the Arts for many years.

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