Press Release (ePRNews.com) - GLENDALE, Ariz. - Mar 08, 2017 - Karson Cook said, “We’ve had no challenges whatsoever, other than me trying not to break character every time one of my fellow cast members opens their mouth,” He said.
Cook plays William Barfée (rhymes with “parfait,” he insists). Barfée was a Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year. He was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts. His famous “Magic Foot” method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril.
“This show just came together,” Cook explained. “Like a work of magic, it’s been seamless. From the moment we were together for our first read through, everything just clicked. We formed an incredible bond instantly. We knew who our characters were and where we wanted them to go, we knew about ninety percent of the score, and collectively we were off book after about two weeks of rehearsals. I could think of no better group of people to do this show. From our cast and our amazing design and stage management teams, to our fabulous directors and music director, this show is truly special. This whole experience has just been indescribable. We’re now days away from opening this beautiful show, and I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve accomplished as a team. The talent we have in that room every night is remarkable, and it’s such an honor to get to play with this beautiful and wacky group of word nerds.”
Stephanie Marie Spencer quibbles with her cast mate’s assessment. “Keeping it fresh and not getting too comfortable in it has been challenging,” she said. “With a show that is so active and so new every time, you really have to stay on your toes, or the show will leave you in the dust. Part of my prep for this show is to keep those eyes wide open and to never sit back. If you ever see me leaning forward, literally, that’s probably why,” she laughed.
Spencer plays Olive Ostrovsky, a young newcomer to competitive spelling. Olive’s 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. She made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition.
Spencer believes audiences will be enthralled with the production. “This show relates to just about everyone,” she said. “These kids are going through such a challenging part of their lives, and audience members will be able to connect to that struggle of growing up. It’s high energy, there’s never a dull moment, and it has a way of inviting the audience into the action. Nobody is an outsider, and the ridiculous amount of hilarity doesn’t hurt, either.”
Cook said, “The best part of this rehearsal process has been getting to work with such amazing and crazy people. This cast is insanely talented and I can’t even put it into words. This experience has been one in a million and it’s so great to work with such dedicated, professional, and beautiful people. I’ve said this many times throughout this process, but, there are rare moments where (as an artist) you realize you’re a part of something truly magical, amazing, and bigger than you ever imagined, and that moment happened for all of us during our first read through. This show is a work of art, and Brelby gathered the best group of artists to tell the story.”
For Spencer the best part of the process “has definitely been the people. The material is phenomenal,” she quickly interjected. “Don’t get me wrong. But it’s immensely exciting to be able to create a bond with an ensemble that simultaneously challenges you to always bring your a-game while encouraging you to take risks and assuring you that you are totally safe in doing so. Every single cast member fits into their role so well, our directors have such a fun and engaging vision, and I’m over the moon to walk into the room and create with these artists every day,” she concluded.
Cook said that he feels people will “enjoy seeing this show because it’s hysterical and insanely fun, but, it’s also real. Yes, a majority of us play children. However, every audience member will find similarities in our characters’ personalities, back-stories, childhoods, et cetera. It will make stomachs hurt from laughing, some might even pee a little,” he chuckled. “But, it will hit home for a lot of people. Some will cry, some will feel uncomfortable, and some will experience multiple emotions all at once. Our audiences will find parts of themselves in these beautifully written and developed characters. Our cast has worked so hard to find the truth to these characters and that is why I feel it’s so special. Portraying a human being is a very complex process, and it takes an amazing group of artists to find the truth to a fictional human being, especially children, and our cast has done just that. If you miss this show you’re missing out on something truly magical.”
Audiences don’t need to miss The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Tickets may be purchased up to show time.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee plays March 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, 31, April 1 at 7:30PM and March 12, 19, 26 at 2PM. Tickets are available by visiting the official web sit e at brelby.com/tickets. General admission is $25 per performance. Admission to The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is included in the benefits of Brelby’s ShowGO subscription: brelby.com/showgo. The Brelby Playhouse is located at 7154 N 58th Dr, Glendale, AZ 85301.
Brelby Theatre Company