25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The Putnam County Spelling Bee logo

November 4 - 7 and 11 - 14, 2021

A delightful den of comedic genius!

Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is one unforgettable experience.

This PG-13 musical comedy introduces us to an eclectic group of six tweens (played by adult actors) who vie for the spelling bee championship of a lifetime, while candidly disclosing hilarious and touching insights into their home lives. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! A riotous ride, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a delightful den of comedic genius. 

*Masks required for all audience members.


November 4-6 & 11-13

7:30 p.m.

November 7 & 14

2 p.m.


Black Box at Avila University
11901 Wornall Rd. Kansas City, MO

Putnam County Spelling Bee Program

Production Team

Kyle Tarvin (Director/Choreographer) has choreographed at least 20 shows, including Mamma Mia, Newsies, Annie, Oklahoma, and also has experience doing choreography for a side-saddle horse-riding competition. Tarvin has worked with casts ranging from 10 to 102 people, has taught youth theater classes, and has experience directing several youth productions. Tarvin loves working in community theater. He finds it immensely rewarding to take a group of people who swear they cannot dance from hating and fearing choreography, to feeling proud they accomplished what they swore they would never be able to do.

Bernadette Ferraro (Music Director) lives in Kansas City, KS where she has taught elementary music for five years. Ferraro grew up with a love for musicals and community theater. She has performed in several productions with the River City Community Players and Shockey Productions. 

Heidi Keith (Stage Manager) grew up in community theater and loves being part of the family. She lives by the words, “do more of what makes you happy.” and that is what brought her here! Keith enjoys reading, puzzles, crafting, chicken tending, and problem solving which are all critical skills she utilizes to achieve success as stage manager.

Cheryl Stutz (Accompanist) received three Music Degrees from ESU, and taught music for 30 years in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. She has been involved in over 100 musicals and currently lives in St. Joseph where she is a church musician and operates Cheryl’s Studio.


Rona Lisa Peretti – Michaela Sewalson

Vice Principal Douglas Panch – Michael O’Brien

Mitch Mahoney – Robin Carroll-Dolci

Olive Ostrovsky – Bailey Self

William Morris Barfée – Aaron Hoffman

Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre – Brooke Ariel

Marcy Park – Brittany Hill

Leaf Coneybear – C.J. Miller

Chip Tolentino John Carver

Character breakdown

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.

Logainne Schwartzandgrubeniere (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.

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.

William Barfeen

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.

Marcy Park

The ultimate over-achiever, Marcy has never been given another option. She comes from a family where excellence is expected and so simply produced. A parochial school student, she assumes God, too, expects perfection. She sees herself as a mass of problems but she keeps them to herself. Having moved often because of her parents’ work, she knows she can beat the local competition. Her many talents include piano, dance, martial arts, baton twirling, and/or whatever special gifts you can find in your casting pool.

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.
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.

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.

Carl Dad
Schwarzy’s main trainer, the more intense and competitive of Schwarzy’s fathers. Normally played by actor playing Leaf.

Dan Dad
the more laid back and ineffectual of Schwarzy’s fathers. Normally played by the actor playing Mitch.

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.

Olive’s Mom
A fantasy version of Olive’s mom at her Ashram in India. Normally played by the actor playing Rona.
An art deco sunburst separator for Leawood Stage Company Community Theater

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City of Leawood Parks & Recreation Department

Thank you to the City of Leawood Parks & Recreation Department, our summer presenting sponsor!

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