A musical comedy about far more than a spelling bee will take the stage at North Iowa Community Auditorium this weekend.
The Mason City High School will perform “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” – its 36th annual summer musical – at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday on the North Iowa Area Community College campus, 500 College Drive, in Mason City.
“(The musical) is incredible fun for kids, but don’t think it is just a show for children,” said Joel Everist, summer musical director. “The themes of kindness, acceptance, self-esteem, fostering of imagination and faithfulness presented in this show are simple, yet universal enough to touch everyone’s heart.”
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a Tony Award-winning musical comedy about an eclectic group of six students vying for the championship of a lifetime.
Throughout the show, each speller reveals their hopes, struggles and passions, and they learn that losing doesn’t make you a loser, and they can stand out and fit in at the same time.
“Every character will represent something an audience member will connect with,” said Nathan Elsbernd, Mason City High School senior.
The musical ran on Broadway for 1,136 shows between 2005 and 2008 and has been translated into a variety of languages for stage performances worldwide.
Mason City High School is producing the school version of the musical, which is appropriate for the entire family, Everist said.
“This should produce a phenomenal show for our community that will prove to be an unforgettable evening,” he said.
Elsbernd was cast as Vice Principal Douglas Panch, who assists with the spelling bee competition.
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He described Mr. Panch as a complex character who cares deeply about the spelling bee rules but is only at the competition for his love interest and spelling bee organizer Rona Peretti, played by Madi Judkins.
“Definitely come out and see the show,” he said. “We have a great cast. Everyone is doing outstanding on their parts.”
Elsbernd is appearing in his third Mason City High School summer musical alongside more than 30 students.
Those cast in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” are Madi Judkins, Rona Peretti; Nathan Elsbernd, Douglas Panch; Sophia Willis, Ms. Mahoney; Marcus Buttweiler, William Barfee; Kylie Hansen, Olive Ostrovsky; Makenna Hansen, Olive’s mom; Aden Stroup, Olive’s dad; Jennaya Everist, Logainne; Daniel Stephenson, Carl Schwartz; Lucas Bartholomew, Dan Grubenniere; Ava Ciaverelli, Marcy Park; Emma Garret, God; Aidan Colby, Leaf Coneybear; Grant Bohls, Chip; and spellers Banjo Banes, Bailey Erickson, Gretchen Garrett, Mia Godfrey, Jack Harty, Katie Lorence, Molly Lorence, Keagan May and Jayden Smith.
The ensemble includes Nathalie Angel, Tara Backhaus, Grace Davis, Candie Eliason, Britta Elsbernd, Nicholas Fallis, Erin Foss, Jacob Graves, Katelyn Hagenow, Avery Heinzerling, Kylie Hubacher, Gabi Johnson, Jaycee Knutson, Keri Larson, Raina Leet, Carter Moore, Madyson Penn, Dani Porter, Brooklyn Reich, Ethan Walthall, Kaitlyn Walthall and Ally Wilson.
Those in the musical crew are Joel Everist, director; Rachel Everist, assistant director; Tim Slaven, scenic designer; Sophia Ciavarelli, choreographer; Hannah Huey-Jones, staging/acting coach; and Rick Chitty, sound. The pit orchestra is Scott Bell, percussion; David Bell, percussion; Abby Ihlenfeldt, cello; and Maria Meyer, flute. The tech crew consists of Jackson Everist, Carsen Johnson, Cassie Judkins and Jordan Sheriff.
Advance tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children 12 and younger and available at Hy-Vee East and West customer service desks. At the door, tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for children. Seating is limited due to contractual obligations, so purchasing tickets in advance is strongly encouraged.
For more information, call 641-421-4506 or visit www.mchschoir.com.
Star Class 2019: Mason City's top students and athletes
Czareena Paulino, science, Mason City
Parents: Rolando & Jinky Paulino
After graduation: University of Illinois
Alicia Hoeft, technical, Mason City
Parents: Kariann and Jon Brown and Justin and Haley Hoeft
Activities: Softball, Volleyball, Cheerleading, Dance, and Silver Cord
After graduation: I plan to go to Kirkwood Community College for my first two years, then transfer to the University of Iowa to become a dentist.
Kruz Sanchez, social science, Mason City
Parents: Annette Squier, Jessie Sanchez
After graduation: University of Northern Iowa, studying General Economics and Finance
Timothy Read, music, Mason City
Parents: Jon and Jenni Read
Activities: Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Model UN, Tennis
After graduation: NIACC, Iowa State University
Kaitlyn Broske, social science, Mason City
Parents: C.T. and Katie Broske, Michelle Broske
After graduation: NIACC nursing program. I am hoping to work as a nurse in the Mason City area after finishing my degree.
Jacob Frieden, language, Mason City
Parents: Blaine and Becky Frieden
Activities: Choir, National Honor Society, Tech-Team, tennis, volunteer tutoring (statistics and physics), piano, and karate
After graduation: Iowa state university - software engineering
Lucy Kim, math, Mason City
Parents: Kwang and Julie Kim
Activities: Dance Team, Cheer, Choir, National Honors Society
After graduation: University of Iowa to pursue a Biomedical Sciences major
Megan Meyer, female athlete, Mason City
Parents: Mark and Ann Meyer
Activities: Basketball, YIELD, National Honor Society, All Iowa Attack
After graduation: University of Iowa
Keegan Nobis, arts, Mason City
Parents: Dawn and David Nobis
Activities: Industrial Tech Club during sophomore and junior year, Taking Industrial System Technology class at NIACC, Working at Fareway, part of the River City Rifle and Pistol Club, Hangout with friends, Helped out with Lincoln Robotics during freshman and sophomore year, watch TV, and play video games
After graduation: North Iowa Area Community College
Dylan Miller, math, Mason City
Parents: Michael Miller and Lisa Miller
Activities: Captain of Basketball Team, Captain of Baseball Team, National Honors Society
After graduation: Major in Biology at Grand View University
Nathan Elsbernd, music, Mason City
Parents: Becky and Randy Elsbernd
Activities: Band, Choir, National Honor Society, Model UN, Mohawk Press, Tennis, Speech, Drama, Academic Decathlon, Jazz Band, Summer Musical, Accompanist, Pianist, and Organist, also participate in 4-H,
After graduation: Luther College to study church music
Marcus Buttweiler, arts, Mason City
Parents: Joseph and Valerie Buttweiler
Activities: band, choir, best buddies, student senate, Stebens Children’s Theater, speech, drama
After graduation: University of Northern Iowa studying Theater and Education
Thea Lunning, social science, Mason City
Parents: Marc and Jennifer
Activities: Swim Team, Golf Team, National Honor Society, Best Buddies, Concert Choir, and the Silver Cord Program
After graduation: Attending NIACC to play golf and study science before continuing on to eventually pursue a degree in ophthalmology or dermatology.
Joey Daoud, science, Mason City
Parents: Fouad Daoud and Angie Daoud
Activities: Cross Country, Soccer, IBA Basketball, and Choir
After graduation: I will be studying biochemistry at an undecided college.
Brianna Sullivan, arts, Mason City
Parents: Patricia Sullivan, Jonathan Sullivan
Activities: Spend free periods in the art room doing various projects. I enjoy a challenge, so for every project I try to test myself. I was a member of Student Senate until earlier this year. I also participated in Speech and Drama sophomore year. Outside of school I enjoy camping and spending time with friends and family.
After graduation: North Iowa Area Community College
Troy Monahan III, male athlete, Mason City
Parents: Troy II and Amy Monahan
Activities: Football 3 year Varsity starter , 3 year Letter Winner, 3 time All District Honors. Wrestling 4 year Varsity wrestler, 4 year letter winner, CIML Conference Champion, 2 time State Qualifier and 2 time State Medalist.
After graduation: Upper Iowa University Majoring in Education with a Coaching Degree and continuing my wrestling career
Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.