After one-year delay, Trine Music and Theatre departments to present ‘Spelling Bee’

March 24, 2021

A year later than originally planned, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will take the stage at Trine University’s T. Furth Center for Performing Arts.

The musical comedy had been scheduled for spring 2020, but was postponed when Trine’s campus closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The university’s music and theatre departments will now present the play at 7 p.m. April 8-10, with a 3 p.m. matinee featuring understudies on April 10.

“The cast had put a lot of hard work into the production last year, and was crushed when the play was canceled,” said director Mindy Maples, assistant professor in Trine’s Department of Humanities and Communication. “We are so excited that they were able to return this year and that we are able to finally present this show to an audience.”

A limited number of tickets are available for each performance at Tickets are $10 general admission or $5 for non-Trine students; any remaining will be available for $2 more at the door.

Trine faculty, staff and students will receive free admission with their ID.  

With music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Rachel Sheinkin, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” centers on a fictional spelling bee set in Putnam Valley Middle School. Quirky adolescents compete in the Bee, which is directed by equally quirky grown-ups. The 2005 Broadway production won two Tony Awards, including Best Book.

The production is for mature audiences.

Cast is as follows:

  • Chip Tolentino: Darius Surgenavic, a software engineering major from Columbiana, Ohio, with Aidan Smith, a mechanical engineering major from Connersville, Indiana, as understudy
  • Jesus and Ensemble Member: Aidan Smith
  • Logainne SchwartzandGrubenniere: Beatrice Snavely, a psychology major from North Manchester, Indiana, with Lydia Tremaine, a psychology major from Huntertown, Indiana, as understudy
  • Leaf Coneybear: Matthew Ketner, a civil engineering major from Ottawa, Ohio, with Sean Carpenter, a mechanical engineering major from Fort Wayne, Indiana, as understudy
  • Carl’s Dad and Ensemble Member: Sean Carpenter
  • Wiliam Barfee: Blake Williams, an English education major from Elkhart, Indiana, with Sean Carpenter as understudy
  • Marcy Park and Leaf's Sister: Gena Mack, a design engineering technology major from Greensburg, Indiana, with Chantale Leavell, a biochemistry major from Gary, Indiana, as understudy
  • Olive Ostrovsky: Alexis Koshenina, a forensic science major from Remington, Indiana, with Lydia Roop, a chemical engineering major from Decatur, Indiana, as understudy
  • Rona Lisa Perretti and Olive's Mom: Kaitlyn Lee, a communication major from San Diego, California, with Lydia Roop as understudy
  • Mckayla "Mick" Mahoney: Ivy Rubel, a design engineering technology major from Bradner, Ohio, with John McClelland, a chemical engineering major from Oak Forest, Illinois, as understudy
  • Vice Principal Panch – John McClelland, with Jaden Hyre, a social studies education major from Fremont, Indiana, as understudy
  • Dad’s Dad – Jayden Hyre
  • Coneybear's Dad and Ensemble Member - John McClelland
  • Coneybear's Mom and Ensemble Member - Ashlee Orman, a criminal justice major from Michigan City, Indiana
  • Olive’s Dad – Matthew Ketner
  • Olive’s Mom – Kaitlyn Lee

In addition to Maples, the crew includes:

  • Alyssa Newbill, Trine University adjunct music professor, musical director
  • Jennifer LaRose, choreographer
  • Shane Scherschel, technical director
  • Lydia Tremaine, assistant director and stage manager
  • Gena Mack, stunt coordinator
  • Job Kaylor, a chemistry major from Argos, Indiana, lights
  • Amelia Mills, an English major from Lebanon, Indiana, costume designer and assistant stage manager
  • Kelsey Flowers, a mathematics major from Kenton, Ohio, props master
  • Taylor Drake, an English major from LaPorte, Indiana, assistant stage manager

For more information, contact Maples at

Last Updated: 03/24/2021

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