Student-directed musical takes center stage

Diana Issa, Campus Life Reporter

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” playing this April, is the first musical at Whitman in nearly four years. 

First-year Kellen Flynn, the director of the show, described this musical as a “high humor comedy with all these very socially awkward children.” He explained why he chose this musical to put on the Whitman stage.

“I don’t think it tries to be any kind of art, but in the end it is. It is a very good symbolic representation about what it means to win, and more so, what it means to lose. It is a nine-person cast, and it is so perfect to do here, especially to bring back musical theater to campus since [musicals] are so accessible. It is really easy to understand; it is really hard to dislike it. Also there is an audience participation in the show, so that’s going to be exciting,” Flynn said.

The music director and conductor, junior Gillian Mackay Brown, expressed how exciting it is to work on the musical. She also explained that she finds this musical very unique.

“What makes this musical special is that it is clever. It is just really funny. It is all about how we can make the funniest, most ridiculous thing possible. There is always something to laugh at. It is definitely not a sad musical. It is definitely not a tearjerker–there are a couple of moments, but that is exactly what makes it a good musical,” Brown said.

She says the cast and the crew have loved working on the show. 

“Shows are always fun when the people on stage are also enjoying themselves, and you can feel this energy,” Brown said.

Senior Michele Matuszewski, who plays vice president Douglas Panch, expressed why he would recommend coming to see this show, explaining that it’s an opportunity to see student performers’ ranges.

“It is a great opportunity to see how great the actors can be in other circumstances. We know that they are great at dramatic plays, but now you can see how great they are and how involved they are in the musical,” Matuszewski said.

After missing musical theatre for so long, these students are eager to bring it back to Whitman. The show will run April 21-24, with tickets available online until they are gone.