Double cast drama

Shana Prentiss, drama teacher and director, double casts this fall’s musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

by Cassie Hayes and Madi Winfield

story by Cassie Hayes

For this year’s fall musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” director and drama teacher Shana Prentiss decided to attempt a double cast for the first time in three years. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will be the first musical performed with a double cast during Prentiss’ time at STA; the last production being a play, “Dancing at Lughnasa.”

According to Prentiss, her main deciding factor for double casting the musical was the size of the cast.

“It’s only nine characters… it wasn’t until we got into auditions, and we knew that we had enough people that could pill it off and be able to have two really strong casts,” Prentiss said.

Despire the larger amount of people, rehearsal doesn’t seem to require ant more work than it would with a single cast, according to Prentiss.

“It seems to flow pretty naturally with the show,” Prentiss said.

photos by Madi Winfield

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As far as logistics, both casts will be performing all four nights of the show, with one group performing larger roles for two of the four showings, while the second group takes on smaller roles. For the other two showings, the second group will perform the larger roles, while the first group the fills secondary roles.

Unfortunately, a double cast musical does have its disadvantages, according to Prentiss. Blue Star, Starlight Theatre’s “Tony-inspired” awards (awarded to Broadway talent), “will only adjudicate one cast,” Prentiss said. Neither cast will know what day and what main cast the committee will see, but it has been decided by both the two casts and Prentiss that, if nominated, a coin flip will determine the cast represented.

In rehearsal for the musical, Prentiss pointed out that each actor is “really putting their own individual spin on each character.”

“They’re a great ensemble; they’re really great about working together,” Prentiss said.