After last year’s setback, students in the Wallkill Valley Drama Department are determined to make this year’s musical the best one yet.
They’ll be putting on “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” outdoors. The play tells the story of six youngsters striving to become adults. These outsiders use competition to define themselves, apart from their crazy families, while their struggle to escape childhood is overseen by grown-ups who never completely succeeded in escaping it themselves.
In hilarious, touching, and catchy songs, each speller reveals his or her hopes, struggles, and passions as they make their way through the competition.
Senior Veronica Conklin will play the leading role of Rona. “This show has been so much fun to work on, and I hope that the audience has just as much fun watching, as my cast mates and I have bee-ing in it,” she said.
Other seniors include Dominic Chiocchi (Chip), Devin Malone (Leaf), Jacob Conklin (Barfee), Vanessa Hasbrouck (Logainne), Megan Fahrenfeld (Panch), and Beatrice Rakowsky (Swing).
“We are so thankful we get to provide our seniors with an amazing and unique theater experience,” said the director, Christine Molnar. “I am proud of the cast, crew and orchestra students for working so hard during these strange times. Not once have they wavered, gave up, or complained about the new rules, restrictions, or challenges we’ve faced to put this show together. We are all so thankful for theater to bring a little normalcy to our lives yet also provide an escape from reality.”
Last March, Wallkill Valley was preparing its production of “Freaky Friday.” But despite all their hard work, and being one day away from opening night, the students were not able to perform in front of an audience.
Theater always has the power to bring people and communities together, Molnar said, and Wallkill Valley’s performances “are incredibly important to who we are as individuals and how we come together as a united group. Every year the theater department at Wallkill Valley grows stronger, allowing more opportunities for students to embrace their passions and explore their talents on stage. The combined talents of directors, actors, and everyone involved are what make this show so special and creates lasting memories for all who get to experience it.”
This year’s shows will be taking place at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 30, and 1 p.m. on Saturday May 1 (rain date is May 2).
The students will be performing outside, on their football field, on a mobile stage. While outdoors, students and audience members will continue to follow Covid guidelines and protocols by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
Tickets are now on sale at ticketpeak.co/wallkill. The cost is $15, or $12 for senior citizens and students.
“I am proud of the cast, crew and orchestra students for working so hard during these strange times. Not once have they wavered, gave up, or complained about the new rules, restrictions, or challenges we’ve faced to put this show together.” Christine Molnar