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Meet Some of the Spellers in Footlighters' "Spelling Bee"

E-f-f-e-r-v-e-s-c-e-n-t. Also e-n-g-a-g-i-n-g as all get out.

That’s musical charmer The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, all about a delightfully eccentric group of sixth graders gathered in their small town to spell their way to victory.

As hopes, and struggles are revealed through William Finn’s catchy score, Spelling Bee is one of those jolly shows where everybody wins, including the audience. Footlighters is currently producing it through March 17 at Stained Glass Theater in Newport.

Let’s meet some of the spellers, with actors giving insight into their characters:

Rick Hunt is Chip Tolentino. “As winner of the 24th Annual Spelling Bee, Chip Tolentino is very excited for the back-to-back opportunity. He finds his motivation comes directly from himself, since he obviously is the champion he hopes to be.”

Too bad about that puberty thing affecting his concentration…

Elizabeth Molloy is over-achiever Marcy Park, who explains poor Marcy doesn’t take pleasure in her successes “because she comes from a family where excellence is expected. She doesn't want to disappoint her family (or Jesus), and so she internalizes her struggles. For her, the Putnam Bee is simply a stepping stone to the real event, the National Spelling Bee.”

Talk about pressure.

Megan Horton is Logainne Schwartzandgrunenierre, whose gay “dads have worked with her on all of her words, so Schwarzy really wants to win to show them that their hard work has paid off.”

In her spare time, Schwartzy is “the president of the Gay Straight Alliance at her school, Schwarzy wants everyone to be more accepting of others.”

Evan Blanton is misfit (and hyper-allergic) William Barfee. “His parents believe that the Bee is a good way for him to make friends, however his school experience has made him wary of meeting new people.”

If that doesn’t work, William can use his "magic foot" to propel him to greatness. (It’s always a show-stopper.)

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, through March 17. Footlighters, Stained Glass Theater, 802 York St., Newport. 8 p.m. Thursday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Additional 8 p.m. performance March 14. Tickets: $23.  (859) 652-3849 and [email protected].

-Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts