On Stage: CLOG performers talk about story and improv in their new show

Promotional poster for the Charleston Light Opera Guild production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"-Courtesy CLOG

Yes, it's Putnam County, just not our Putnam County. Set in a different part of the country, the Charleston Light Opera Guild production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," which won Tony and Drama Desk awards for Best Book for a Musical when it was on Broadway, showcases an eclectic group of young spellers who are played by adults as they battle to win their county's top spelling prize.

"It's clever. The comedy of it, it really is. The music is good, "Dewey Fletcher (William Morris Barfee) said. "There's just something about seeing kids being kids. And it's being brought into the light where adults are playing kids and that brings its own flavor of comedy. That in itself is just amazing."

"Everybody's kind of a lead in this. It's both a leading show and an ensemble show," Devin Elliott (Olive Ostrovsky) said. "So, we just all build each other up so much. Where before if I've had a leading role I've felt that pressure. But this, I really don't have that pressure because everybody is building each other up so much."

The show features a unique twist. Each performance, four volunteers will be selected from the audience to go on stage and participate in the spelling bee. The improvisational moments which follow guarantee a very different theatre experience each and every night.

"I've always enjoyed that kind of changing things every single time, finding new things to do, adding silly elements to every character that you have," Danae Samms (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre) said. "And you really get to do that in this show. And because of the way it's built every single show is going to be different. So, we're going to perform it across three weekends and almost three times a weekend and every one of those shows is going to be different because of the jokes and just how you react and current events that are going to change the jokes inside of the show."

"I think they'll enjoy the audience interaction," Cameron Burford (Mitch Mahoney) said. "That fact that we get to bring spellers up from the audience to interact with us on stage. It puts us in a position to where we kind of have to go with the flow."

The Charleston Light Opera Guild presents ""The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"
Fri-Sat Jan 19-20 / 26-27 and Feb 2-3 at 7:30pm
Matinees Sun, Jan 28 and Feb 4 at 2pm
Charleston Light Opera Guild Theatre
411 Tennessee Ave, Charleston
All tickets $20


Olive Ostrovsky - Devin Elliott
William Barfee - Dewey Fletcher
Leaf Coneybear - Bob McCarty
Logainne Scwartzandgrubenniere - Danae Samms
Marcy Park - Allison Whitener
Chip Tolentino - Gabriel Gorby
Rona Lisa Peretti - Julie Miller
Vice Principal Douglas Panch - Kennie Bass
Mitch Mahoney- Cameron Burford

Nina Denton Pasinetti-Director/Choreographer
David Patrick-Musical Director/Accompanist
Tom Pasinetti-Technical Director

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