The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Waterfront Playhouse, Key West

I absolutely love the Waterfront Playhouse.  It is right at Mallory Square, so once you get past the throngs of tourists there for sunset, it is a pleasure. The theater itself is small, charming and well air conditioned (hey, these things are important in Key West…) There is also not a bad seat in the house. Plus, it is Key West, so there is always a bar.So, when I saw that The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was coming, I ran right out to get tickets. OK, in reality I waited until the night before, when I knew we could go, then I ran right out to get tickets. Another great thing about theater in Key West is the ability to get last minute tickets.

The show itself was incredibly well done. The actors – all of them – were terrific. There was not a weak link in the bunch. the Spelling Bee is a story of young misfits, each with their own issues. The one thing they have in common is that all are overachievers and want to win. Badly. Well, most of them, anyway. The moderators of the bee are Rona Lisa Peretti, once a champion speller herself (and clearly still proud of that many years later) and Vice Principal Doug Panch, coming back from a “leave of absence”. Both are hilarious.

During the bee, members of the audience are brought up to the stage to participate, adding to the fun. Each speller – cast and audience member – asks for definitions and for the word to be used is a sentence. To me, the absurd, strange and inappropriate sentences were the best part of the show. Delivered with a straight face, they kept us laughing for the entire two hour production.

Luckily for you, the Spelling Bee is at the Waterfront Playhouse for two more weeks. You don’t want to miss the evening of hilarity, fun and even a little spelling. Shows are at 8PM, Tuesday through Saturday now until April 7, 2012.