‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ will perform live at Stephens Auditorium

The cast of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Not pictured: Michael Peterson.

Margaret Troup

From Nov. 12 to 15, the Ames Community Theater (ACTORS) will be performing the comedy-musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at Stephens Auditorium.

ACTORS is a community-based theater in Ames that has been putting on performances since 1956. This year, their fall show will be the Tony award-winning “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which follows a group of middle school students with their various comical struggles and serious anxieties that come with participating in a spelling bee.

“I’ve heard so many good things about the Ames Community Theater,” said Benjamin Nuckolls, a junior psychology major and cast member in the show, in response to why he auditioned for the show. “In addition, the fact that this is the only theater around here that’s doing live shows in central Iowa.”

Due to ACTORS being community-based and not exclusively Iowa State-based, some members of the cast are not Iowa State students.

“I’ve done this show before and I had a lot of fun doing it back in 2014,” said Brendan Donnelly, an Ames community-based cast member. “It’s really funny. And I think people want comic relief right now with the current landscape of everything. It’s a light-hearted kind of show.”

This season of performing arts through ACTORS has differed drastically from previous years. As such, the cast members have had to adapt to their extenuating circumstances.

“My show in the spring got canceled,” said Jess Fenton, a junior performing arts major and cast member in the show, in response to how performing in this show has differed from years past. “The difference with [performing with] the masks has been insanely different. We had to figure out what kind of masks to get. We found we liked the jersey masks because they’re easier to breathe and sing through.”

Extensive safety precautions will be taken before and in between each performance. All places of high-touch points, such as handrails, arm rests and bathrooms will be cleaned and sanitized before and after performances. Upon purchasing tickets for the show, a seating chart will be shown for audience members to choose their seating. Seats will be no less than three chairs apart and only every other seat row will be utilized. Face coverings will be required by all staff and audience members.

“I think there are some risks with [performing live],” said Lacoda Collier, a freshman performing arts major, in response to how they feel about performing live in a theater. “There are always risks with performing during COVID-19, but I think it’s something that we need right now.”

Tickets for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” are now available for purchase online, in store at Alpha Copies & Print Center as well as at the door on the nights of the shows. Showtimes will be 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 to 14 while the final performance will be at 2:00 p.m. Nov. 15. Tickets are $20 for all performances with the exception of Nov. 14, where a $5 discount will be offered to students who present their student ID when purchasing tickets.