Florida Studio Theatre spells success with Putnam County Spelling Bee.
By Kay Kipling
The adult actors here have no trouble pulling off the physical and emotional aspects of being middle-school-age kids. They look the part, from Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, the lisping, pig-tailed daughter of two gay dads (Rachel Cantor); to Leaf Coneybear, home-schooled and irresistibly goofy with his Superman cape and protective headgear (Christopher Totten); to William Barfee, pronounced “bar-fay” (Bruce Warren), who seems to have just about every disability known to man including a highly unpleasant personality but is blessed with a magic foot that helps him spell out words.
Bruce Warren, Ashley Puckett Gonzales and Stephen Hope in Bee.
Add the stereotypical Asian overachiever, Marcy Park (Robin Lee Gallo), the Boy Scout whose hormones are starting to interfere with his spelling abilities, Chip Tolentino (Kavin Panmeechao), and the adorable but neglected Olive Ostrovsky (Sarah Jane Mellen, who’s almost heart-breaking at times) and you’ve got a fair and very funny mix of characters. They’re joined by four volunteers from the audience who do their best to spell the words handed them by the vice principal (some of the funniest moments come from his wildly unhelpful sentences employing the chosen word) before they, too, depart with a juice box in hand.