SHS Drama Club Performs The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee


Maroon Staff

Scarsdale High School students take a final bow after performing the musical they spent months perfecting.

Sydney Geringer and Yasmina Levitsky

Last weekend, the Scarsdale High School presented their fall musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Directed by drama club advisor Barbara Malecki, the three showings on Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday morning received a great turnout from community members excited to support the arts at SHS. 

 The storyline captured a series of events where contestants competing in a spelling bee grew as individual characters. The lighting, sound, and performance all acted in harmony to create a humorous and meaningful production. 

The two finalists in the spelling bee, although rivals at first, grow to be friends by the end of the play. Isabelle Haller ’22 played Olive Ostrovsky, an awkward girl looking for a friend and attention from her distant parents. Despite a lack of support, Ostrovsky realized that her determination proved worthwhile as it ultimately led her to the finals, where she competed against William Barfeé. Barfée, played by Mitchell Peran ’22, won the competition using a crowd-favorite technique known as the ‘magic foot’ to spell out obscure words before saying them out loud. The two characters found even more meaning in the bee than just winning, growing to foster a close-knit friendship with one another. 

The play also sought to teach lessons on self-acceptance and self-growth. Brooke Suzman ’23 played the role of Marcy Park, an intelligent overachiever who learns to start living for herself after allowing herself to mess up in one of the earlier rounds. Henry Nova ’23 played Chip Tolentino, a boy scout who had won the previous spelling bee, learns humility and to not take himself too seriously. “My character was a lot like myself, so there was not much to dislike about my character. He’s overly confident, but he is going through puberty, so he has a lot to learn,” explained Nova. Jamzariz Deguia ’22 played Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, the president of her elementary school’s GSA, driven by a desire to live up to the expectations of her two mothers. Despite familial pressure to cheat to win, Schwartzandgrubenierre chooses not to sabotage her competitors and relies on her talents. Finally, Leaf Coneybear, played by Colin Dunsky ’23, is a homeschooled sibling who realizes his intelligence and uniqueness amidst insults from his boisterous family. 

The musical included solos for each main character, allowing the actors to show off their talents in both dancing and singing. Some of the most popular songs included “What Was Me,” “I Speak Six Languages,” and “Pandemonium.” As the audience watched each character’s identity development, they also laughed at the comedic nature of the show, which included cracks on politics, social justice issues, and adolescence.

 “[On] Friday night, we usually draw a lot of the parents of the cast, close friends, and people from the community; that’s our biggest night, and we get a lot of laughs from that night,” explained Nova. The play also successfully incorporated the audience into the musical as guest speakers were called to the stage to participate by acting as spelling bee competitors. The personalized nature production engaged the teachers in the audience, including Mr. Bedoya, Mr. Bonello, Mr. Sawyer, and Mr. Mounkhall. 

Last year, COVID-19 forced the Drama Club to perform and practice all-online, completely obliterating the drama club community. “All the plays last year were virtual or recorded, so they were very different…rehearsing a play virtually just wasn’t the same as performing plays in person,” said Nova, ’23. This year, the play proved more successful than ever, especially since the actors started casting in September and worked for up to six hours after school each day. The drama club also coordinated with several other departments, including the backstage crew, sound technicians, and orchestra, to incorporate various elements into the production.

Lastly, the drama club urges any budding actor or actress to join the winter and spring productions. “Join the Drama Club! It’s the bombest club ever,” joked Jack Finegold ’24. “We’re all so united, and the satisfaction of performing is incredible,” he added.