Spelling Bee: A Musical Comedy and My Tragedy

Written by Fritz

Topics: Entertainment, Reviews, Theater

I first knew that spelling wasn’t my cup of tea when I mispelled b-i-c-y-c-l-e during a spelling bee competition at second grade. While seated and waiting for my turn, I can still recall how fervently I hoped to not get the word “bicycle.” FML, I know, as it just had to happen.

“Spell… BICYCLE.” Boo! My shoulders must have obviously dropped as I began feeling all signs of hope leave me. Also, I felt sick in the tummy. At the back of my mind I was “you have got to be shitting me!!!” I tried my hardest to remember… and know… and then I went, “B… Y…” Almost as instantaneous as I said “Y,” I saw Sister whus-her-face do a facepalm from the audience (the first facepalm I recall seeing was given to me by a nun, yes).  Like all losers, I was escorted out through the back stage. I continued walking down the corridor and up to our classroom to look at the words spelled at the side of the board for English spelling class. There it was, the word “bicycle” along with the word “bureau.” GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

As I was staring blankly at the words, a classmate named Michael Ocampo (the most mischievous pupil in class who at that time pulled off wearing khaki pants when everyone else were requried to be in khaki shorts–something that’s perplexed everyone to this very day) suddenly appeared behind me saying, “that’s alright,” to which I replied, “fuck off” “LOL.” I mean where the f*ck did that sneaky snake come from and how come he’s suddenly all consoling and shiz?! 

Going back, from that moment on, everybody made sure to leave the-boy-who-can’t-spell-bicycle alone for spelling bees and I was perfectly cool with it. About a decade later, I chanced upon an International Spelling Bee competition on ESPN and, boy, was I relieved to not have made a career out of spelling because most of those kids who made it to the Intenationals acted TOTALLY weird!  I scoured youtube for something to corroborate this claim and below’s the perfect example (watch it, watch it, watch it for maximum LULZ!):



It came as no surprise that somebody got inspired to make a musical showcasing the eccentricities of spelling bee contestants in one dubbed THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEEAtlantis Productions, on their 10th year, brings this 2005 Tony Award Winning (best book) musical comedy in Manila for a limited time on March 20, 21, 22, 27 & 29, and April 4, 2009 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Building, Makati. Faithful to the Broadway original, celebrity guests and lucky viewers may get to join the fun as guest spellers in one of the show dates (read about the details on how to become a guest speller from Lorna aka thebachelorgirl’s post). From the wikipedia link I posted above, it was said that Julie Andrews guested in one of the Broadway runs and misspelled the word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!

I have to admit, I found some parts of SPELLING BEE bland (maybe due to me being at the balcony and getting a stiff neck twice while looking down on the stage) but I nevertheless enjoyed it over all (most probably because of my undying hatred for people who can spell words more complicated than b-i-c-y-c-l-e). Felix Rivera, Joel Trinidad, and Rycharde Everly are in it together with actors I have only seen now (Cathy Azanza, Pheona Baranda, Thea Tadiar Everley, Carla Guevarra-Laforteza, Johann dela Fuente, and Noel Rayos). This local run of Spelling Bee is directed by Bobby Garcia.

To buy tickets for THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, contact Ticket World. There are limited tickets available at this time (says the Ticket World website) so if you want to see this, you better hurry up! 


THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, poster courtesy of Atlantis Productions. 

Thanks to Jason Quitane (awesome band member for Spelling Bee Manila) for the tickets and Anne, my homie, for knowing I’m interested enough to watch on short notice.

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