Auditions- Thursday, August 18 & Monday August 22, 2022 - 7:00pm
Director John Leslie and musical director Kris Layton will be holding in-person auditions for THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE on August 18th and 22nd at the New Players Theatre Guild Center for the Performing Arts, 15 Rollstone Street, Fitchburg.
October 28, 29 & November 4 & 5, at 7:30PM and matinees on October 30 & November 6, at 2:00PM
The audition will include a vocal audition and reading of one of the monologues (to follow) appropriate to the part for which you are auditioning. Memorization is NOT expected. Cold readings from the scrip may be used if callbacks become necessary.
If you are unavailable for the in-person audition, you may video your monologue and a vocal selection and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org There will be no dance audition.
General Cast Guidelines:
The cast can include mature teenagers, age 16 and up and adults who feel they can play the role of an age between 18 and 55. Individuals of all genders and ethnicities are urged to audition.
Chip Tolentino An athletic, social, boy scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment. (C4 - B5)
Logainne Schwartzandgrunenierre (Schwartzy) Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. She is driven by internal and external pressure, but above all by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp, and will be back next year. A3 - F5
Leaf Coneybear The second runner-up in his district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the bee incredibly amusing. He is home-schooled and comes from a large family of former hippies. He has severe Attention Deficit Disorder and spells words correctly while in a trance. (A3 - A5)
William Barfee A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and is back for vindication. His famous "Magic Foot" method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy, bullying personality. He develops a crush on Olive. (E4 - B5)
Marcy Park A recent transfer from Virginia, Marcy placed ninth in last year's nationals. She speaks six languages, is a member of all-American hockey, a championship rugby player, plays Chopin and Mozart on multiple instruments, sleeps only three hours a night, hides in the bathroom cabinet, and is getting very tired of always winning. She is the poster child for the Over-Achieving Asian, and attends a Catholic school called "Our Lady of Intermittent Sorrows." She is also not allowed to cry. (C4 - E5)
Olive Ostrovsky A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. Having found comfort in its words and vastness, Olive made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition. She starts enormously shy, and shyly blossoms. (B3 - F5)
Rona Lisa Peretti The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and the returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch and his feelings for her. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and drives it forward. (B3 - F5)
Douglas Panch The Vice Principle. Frustrated with his life, he finds the drive of the young spellers alien to him. After five years' absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an "incident" at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in "a better place" now, thanks to a high-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.
Mitch Mahoney The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He has no idea how to offer comfort, but does find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better. (E4 - A5)
Carl's Dad Schwarzy's main trainer, the more intense and competitive of Schwarzy's fathers. Normally played by actor playing Leaf. (G3 - D5)
Dan's Dad The more laid back and ineffectual of Schwarzy's fathers. Normally played by the actor playing Mitch. (G3 - D5)
Jesus Christ Deity invoked by a speller in need. Normally played by the actor playing Chip.
Leaf's Mom, Dad, And Siblings All more academically gifted than Leaf, they are even more surprised than he is by his success. Normally played by the spellers and audience volunteers as indicated in the script.
Olive's Dad A fantasy version of Olive's dad coming to the bee from work. Normally played by the actor playing Mitch. (E4 - B5)
Olive's Mom A fantasy version of Olive's mom at her Ashram in India. Normally played by the actor playing Rona. (D4 - E5)
**Following are the monologues for your in-person audition or video submission. Please prepare one most appropriate for the character you'd like to play.***
CAMPAIGN SPEECH By: Jared Goudsmit, Age 18 Description: Dean goes full populist in his bid for Class President. Genre: Comedic Look, I could talk credentials. I could tell you all about my experience in the JROTC. I could flex my Debate Club prowess. I could mention offhand that I am, in fact, an Eagle Scout. I could, but I won’t, because I’m not here to show off. No, I’m here to talk about you. You get up every day before the sun rises. The bus is late. Your locker is jammed, the custodial staff couldn’t care less. Your desks are full of busywork, your lunch trays are full of mush, and your teachers are full of – you know, uh, nonsense. I say it time and time again: This whole operation, this machine they’re running you through, it has no interest in you. Now, I’ve pushed for reform! But when I try and do something to fix this place, I’m dismissed. “We are not hiring caterers, Dean, eat your casserole.” “Dean, the Anglerfish with a Missile Launcher is not an acceptable school mascot.” “Foolish Dean, the hallway is no place for a Slip ‘N Slide.” We’ve all heard it, in the same condescending tone, a million times before: “You’re just a child.” Well, po-tay-to, po-tah-to. You say I’m “just some kid,” I say I have fourteen years of life experience, thank you very much, and when I’m elected? I’ll stop at nothing to get you what you want. Now, my opponent has credentials. High class rank, Honor Society... every teacher’s favorite. Rose is a shoo-in, right? I see the appeal. I mean, she works like a, uh... oh, what’s the word? Right! A machine. So go ahead. Vote for Rose... if you’re content. But if you’re fed up with the powers that be, if you’re sick and tired of being overlooked, if you want to see a Tammany Hall Junior High that reflects your needs... if you’re like me? Then Fight the Machine! And vote for Dean.
THE CRUSH By: Nicholas Schaeffer, Age 12, Ontario Canada Description: : A nerdy kid asks his friend for advice on how he can talk to a girl he finds cute. Genre: Comedy I need some advice. (Shyly) I kinda like the new girl Jessica. (Quickly warning!) But you can’t tell anyone ok! I’m just not sure the best way to approach her. (In a very nerdy way) Statistics show that the easiest way to get someone to like you is to be popular. But I’m not popular. Science also shows that to become popular you should spend time with popular people. (Snaps fingers with idea!) Wait a minute. Why don’t I talk to Jake? He is definitely the coolest kid in school. How can I impress him? Throw a football 20 yards? Break the school record in track and field? Do a backflip? Ugh! You’re right. Who am I kidding? I can’t do any of those things! I’ve got it. I’ll just give him the answers for the test. That’s easy. That will totally make him think I’m cool. Next thing you know, I’ll be popular. Maybe then I’ll get up the courage to talk to Jessica.
MAD MOCKERY By: Marina Paul, Age 16, Utah USA Description: Mother Nature goes to therapy. Genre: Comedic/Dramatic Well. Here I am. Miss. Perfect, Miss. Pristine, Miss. Loving, Miss. Goddess, Miss. Ovaries for Days! I... uh... I’m not sure exactly where to start. It’s just that everywhere, all around me, all I see is dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead! I mean it shouldn’t bother me, but it does and everything’s dead and everything’s hot and everything’s warming, and no one cares about Mother Nature. I keep this planet growing with my own two hands. But at this point is it even worth it? These humans are walking all over me like I’m their actual mother. Sometimes I think THEY should be the ones going to therapy, not me. When I first started this job, the grass was pristine. Crisp, cool, green, soft, forgiving. What is it now? Dry as a whistle. If I wanted my grass to be used for a whistle, I would have made it a whistle. You know another thing? The sky used to be blue. Yeah. B-L-U-E blue. I miss those days. It used to be so blue you could actually see the clouds. Now it’s grey. I hate grey. I don’t know. Maybe we should let the greenhouse gas emissions just wipe me out. Then see how they like it. They asked for the purge they’re gonna get the purge. Oh! And you know what else really gets my vines in a twist? Sea levels. That’s not even on me, I stay hydrated. Those guys down there? Well, just between you and me, they could use another shower. Sorry folks, it’s not gonna start raining men until that water goes down. (Pause) Can I think of anything good? Uh...well I like the stars...that is when I can see them. Maybe I just need glasses. No, that can’t be it. Sorry – what was that? The session’s almost over? Well, I guess there’s one thing that I really do need to talk about. Do you know how to reverse climate change? I might have gotten a little heated.
SORRY By: Thato Sibuyi, Age 17, Haenertsburg, South Africa Description: Amy and her team just lost a competition that had a large amount of prize money. Amy really needed that money. Genre: Dramatic SORRY? (Hysterical laughter) Sorry? Really that’s all you have to say? We just lost thousands of dollars and you’re sorry? (Angry) No. You don’t get to be sorry. You don’t care, not enough to be sorry. You did this competition for fun, and the prize money was just the cherry on top for you. I put my life on the line for this! You go home to a big house, with working lights and food on the table. I’m going to go home to a two-bedroom house and pray to God we have enough to pay for the electric bill. The bill that I was supposed to pay for with the money that I was supposed to win from this competition. (Angrily) And you want to know why we lost, Jack? Because of you! You and Lisa going at each other’s necks the whole time! You couldn’t set your pride aside for two hours? TWO HOURS for the greater good of everyone else, but no! That didn’t work for you, did it? (Starts crying) I did everything, EVERYTHING in my power to win this, and all my efforts were wasted. You’re not sorry. Not for losing this, you’re okay, you lost nothing. You just feel bad because some of us really cared, and that’s not sorry, that’s pity. And I don’t need that from you. So don’t tell me you’re sorry, cause I’m not buying it.
BOOK CLEANSE By: Avani Ingole, Age 14, New Jersey USA Description: A book nerd decides it’s time to take a break from reading about heroes and heroines and start having some adventures of her own. Genre: Comedic I never noticed how much space books take up–in my head and in my actual room. I mean, it’s kind of sad. I didn’t think I relied on fictional characters this much, but here I am sitting on the floor in an empty apartment. My mom always used to say, “Lizzie you need to make friends, Lizzie you can’t sit inside and read all day.” Why not? Why deal with the drama of friend groups when you can enjoy a good mystery? I mean yeah I do have friends but ever since I was a kid books were my go to. Some kids read to escape, others read for fun. Me? I read because of the people I could be. Now that I think about it, I’ve never actually had an original thought. Everything has been taken from a book I read. Not that it’s a bad thing. Who doesn’t want to be like Elizabeth Bennet? But now that I’m going to be in college, and I’m no longer the only kid in 3rd grade who’s read Pride and Prejudice. Someone is bound to realize that Lizzie and Eliza aren’t clever nicknames that my family made for me, but names I forced them to call me so that I could be just like my favorite character. It’s hard to have your own unique personality when you spend the majority of your day reading books. Especially when the characters are so interesting that want to be them. So I’ve decided to go on a book cleanse. I have three months to create a new me for college. Obviously it’s not going well, but at least I’m trying right? I actually socialized with people without bringing up books, and now I’m going to buy paintings for my wall! They won’t look as good as the color-coded bookshelves I used to have, but that’s beside the point. The point is that I am no longer the “book nerd” who dreams of being in every book they read, cries about fictional characters, only wants to do something because the strong female character did. I am a social butterfly who has their own original personality and doesn’t rely on books for happiness.
MONOLOGUE By: Caroline Seawell, Age 15, South Carolina USA Description: A frustrated theater student brainstorms ideas for a monologue they must write. Genre: Comedic C’mon brain, THINK! This monologue is due tomorrow and I have nothing! Not a single word! This sucks, I am going to fail my theater class all because I can’t come up with one stupid paragraph. Perhaps some cookie dough ice cream could help me think? No! I can’t eat yet! I have to stay focused! Maybe I should make it about love or something. Teachers like to read stuff like that, right? Or I could write about a kid with a scar who gets a letter from a foreign school and finds out he’s a wizard and, wait, nope that’s Harry Potter. Ooh, maybe I could write about a character who can’t come up with a monologue and they are trying to brainstorm ideas on what to write about. No, that is way too meta. Ugh. I am making this way harder than it has to be but I really can’t fail, I just can’t! If I fail this, then I have a B on my report card, then I’ll lose motivation and then that B will turn into an F and then boom! I’m failing all of my classes and I drop out of school to become a sign spinner outside of KFC. Not to mention that my mom would kill me. I wouldn’t blame her either. If I was a single mom working two jobs just to provide for a kid who failed all of their classes I would be mad too. She really is the best. She’s always supported my love of theater and to be honest I wouldn’t be where I am without her. She’s my hero. Wait a minute, that’s it! I should write a monologue about my mom and how hard she works every day! This is going to be so good. I think all of this brainstorming has earned me a visit with some of my good friends: Ben and Jerry.
CONEYBEAR (student) (answers the phone at home) Thanks! I got it! (into phone) Hello, Leaf speaking. Uh, huh. Uh, huh. Uh, huh. You’re kidding? I’m gonna represent the Basin in the Bee? Wow, I can’t believe it! (hangs up the phone) (to his family) Mom, Dad, Marigold, Brook, Pinecone, Raisin, Landscape, Paul - you’re not going to believe this. I made the county finals in the spelling bee! (pause) I know! but they just called and said the person who came in first has to go to their bat mitzvah, and the person who came in second... has to attend the bat mitzvah, so they want me to do it! (pause, listens to a word he must spell) A-what? (listen again) “Acouchi?” At a spelling bee? What’s it mean? (listen for and repeat the definition) “A South American rodent.” It’s funny how I keep getting South American rodents. (pause) I’ve forgotten the word. (remembers) Right: Acouchi. A-C-O-U-C-H-I. Acouchi. I might be smart. My siblings can’t believe that I got it right. But I got it right. Right? I didn’t cheat. I saw this light. And it was neat. I like to laugh; I like to spell; I like to never hear the bell. And if this competition’s hell..at least I’m finally a part. I feel my heart begin to swell. I like - I love - to spell. I like it a lot.
BARFEE (student) (after hearing the word he is to spell) Yes, of course. Lugubrious, meaning extremely sad and droopy? (pause for confirmation) A topic I am all too familiar with. One moment please. (pause to think) (using his Magic Foot, Barfee spells the word out on the floor so he can get a visual.) (After going through the motions, he speaks it out loud) Lugubrious. L-U-G-U - Lugu! B-R-I-O-U-S -Lugubrious.
SCHWARTZY (student) (introducing herself) My name is Logainne Schwartz-and-grubenierre, from Magna Magnet Grammar School. I’d like to take one moment to thank my two fathers Daniel Schwartz and Carl Grunbenierre who’ve been so supportive of me and all my endeavors. “Thank you, dads.” (pause) I hope you can love me, America. I’m gunning for first prize. Here’s why you should love me, America: My needs I cannot overemphasize. I make myself crazy being what my dads hope I’ll be. But what about me, dads? What about me? Though I practice yoga, I don’t breathe. I try not to disappoint, but still I disappoint the dads, who my friends will mock. Kids are mean. Kids’ll talk. All my so-called “friends” roll their eyes - so incredibly petty. Because my dads are my “dads.” My “B.M” (pause to explain) - my “birth mother” - lives in Kansas ... in a trailer, in a park. Tornadoes. Every now and then she sends a card. “Life and men,” she writes “are hard.” and ... “I would like to meet you when you’re grown.” Woe is me. I just want to up and vomit ... which is why I gotta win this Spelling Bee. CHIP #1 (student) (to one of the other spellers) Leaf - that girl in thew second row in the fuzzy sweater? Is that your sister? (hears and repeats her name) Marigold? (gets caught up in a fantasy conversation with her, which gives him an erection) Marigold ... Marigold Coneybear ... That’s a really lovely sweater, Marigold... (Pause, somebody gets his attention) Sorry - is it my turn to spell? (realizes, and tries to conceal his “problem”) Um, can you maybe skip me now and ask me two words in a row later? (Pause to hear reply “Why?”) Um, I’d rather not say. (Pause and reply) No, I don’t want to forfeit. I’ll take my turn now. (Hearing the word, he is unbelieving) What??? (he hears the word again and repeats it) TITTUP? Definition, please? (repeats definition, embarrassed) Oh ... it refers to the sound of horses hooves - tittup, tittup, tittup. (begins to spell) Tittup. T-I (reluctantly) T ... U - oh wait. Two t’s. You heard both, right? Backing up, T-I-T-T- U-P. Tittup. (he reacts to a bell, which eliminates him) Yes, I know! T-I-T-T-U-P. That’s exactly what I said. I wasn’t sure if you heard both t’s. I obviously know how to spell it. (pause) That’s not fair. I got it right. I can’t get out on a word I spelled right. (pause)
CHIP #2 (student) (takes on new responsibility, trying to sell to the audience) Snack time. Chocolate chip cookies. Brownies. All one dollar. Anybody? (aside) Can you believe they make me do this? It is tradition that the person eliminated from the competition is fair game for derision, especially the Alpha male who’ll sell goodies at the bake sale. How could I have been eliminated? I’ll bet I know how. I’m sure I know why: My unfortunate erection is destroying my perfection. It is my recollection that everything I once did I did perfectly. But because of Marigold Coneybear, because there’s something, and not a thing between us. I don’t blame my brain, but I do blame my penis. Because my stiffy has ruined my spelling! Erection... Erection... My unfortunate erection is ruining my life, is ruining my world, is ruining my life. Oh, God.
MITCH (adult) You can’t comfort these damn kids. They don’t yet know that the good don’t always win, so there’s nothing you can say to cheer them up when they lose. I want to tell them disappointment doesn’t last - but from what I’ve seen disappointment lasts like hell. I want to tell them words don’t matter; but from what I’ve seen words can get you killed. I just want to beat them yup a little, so they understand that pain has degrees, and this is nothing - this is nothing, you little freaks. But that would violate my parole. So I do what I can. I give them a hug and a juice box. I’m here to give comfort. (pause, about himself) Mitch Mahoney discovered a new talent at the Putnam Bee. so he made his community service lifelong, comforting eliminated spellers and frustrated educators across the nation. Over the years he remained in touch with scores of people he had comforted.
RONA (Adult) Hello, I’m Rona Lisa Peretti, and I’m pleased to be back for my 9th consecutive year as your host. I’d like to take this moment to ask to please turn off all cell phones and other distracting devices, and put away cameras - sorry, no photos at the Bee. (to one of the students) Mr. McGrath. It seems we haven't received your entrance fee. (pause for a reaction) Did the school not tell you about the twenty-five dollar entrance fee? (pause) Is your mom or dad here? (pause) Well, we’ll talk about the entrance fee later. (to parents in the audience) Ladies and Gentlemen, all the children you see on stage are here because they have extraordinary ability and love of language - but only one of them can go on to compete in the National Spelling Bee! And this year, to celebrate our silver anniversary, our local sponsors, the Putnam Optometrists, are offering today’s winner a two hundred dollar savings bond toward his or her future education. But remember, to get here each child had to win or place - in their own district Bee - so each of them is already a winner. (to the contestants) Oh, boys ... and girls! I feel joy, but I also feel pain because I know what’s coming. Joy never comes for free. In a moment he or she will enter spelling history, feeling triumph and glee. In this moment of perfect syzygy, I hear triumphant sounds of timpani. Comes my favorite moment of the Bee.
PANCH (adult) We have a winner! On behalf of our sponsors, “The Putnam Optometrist” - (indicating their banner) “You’ve got to see us to believe us” - we’d like to present you, William Morris Barfay, with this two hundred dollar savings bond toward your future education. (pause) And this year, there’s also a runner-up prize. As you know, if for any reason the winner cannot fulfill his duties as Putnam County Spelling champ, the Runner-Up must step in and assume all spelling responsibilities, so this year our sponsors are also offering a cash prize of twenty-five dollars to the second-place finisher. Nice going, Miss Ostrovsky. (pause, about himself) After the Bee, Vice Principal Panch found a new passion in life. Her name was Rona Lisa Peretti. After courting her tirelessly for over two years, she took out a restraining order on him. Still, he was grateful for the opportunity to experience love.