Noblesville High School students take turn at playing middle schoolers in ‘Putnam County Spelling Bee’

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“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” provides a unique opportunity for Noblesville High School students.

“I think what has been fun for them is they are playing (characters) younger than their age, so that’s different,” said Shantel Morris, who is serving as choreographer. “For high school students who have worked through that emotion and puberty, they are revisiting awkward stages that are not too far away from their own experiences. What is cute is the show showcases every different kid. Every kid has their issues. This highlights, in our special way, we all bring something special to the table. The spelling bee allows the format to show who they are.”

The school’s production of the musical comedy is set for 7 p.m. Nov. 15, 16 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17.

Morris, a 1991 NHS graduate, has been helping out with the musical for the last five years. Ryan Shelton is the director. Choir director John Neubauer is the music director.

“It’s comedy but there are some serious messages about being kind to each other and tolerating different types of people,” Neubauer said.

Neubauer said there are a lot of younger actors in their first big roles.

“The truth is a whole lot of great kids graduated last year,” Neubauer said. “Now we have to rebuild the program, so it is a fresh group. If those kids didn’t graduate, some of (these kids) might not get this chance. They get to step up, fill in the blanks and do great.”

Morris said what is interesting about a high school production is there are choir students who might not have the acting background and then students who have acting an background who may not have a musical background.

“You tell them to sing and dance, and that’s scary,” Morris said. “It forces them to all come together.”

Junior Aubrey Rudy plays Marcy Park.

“She is a super, super smart girl that goes to Catholic school,” Rudy said. “The joke with her is she is way too perfect. She is perfect in everything she does. She speaks six languages. She’s an All-American sports (athlete). She doesn’t really enjoy winning. She is just good at it because people expect her to be. What I enjoy about playing her is she gets this epiphany. She doesn’t enjoy it, so why is she still doing it? That’s great for kids and adults across the board. If you really don’t want to do it, why should you do it? She realizes she’s happy to be done with it because she doesn’t really care that she wins, even though she has the full capacity to win.”

Rudy said it is a good lesson for anybody not to stress so much.

“I’m so stressed. I want to finish my homework,” she said. “I’ve just got to do well. I shouldn’t have to do something I don’t want to do.”

Junior George Brechbill plays Leaf Coneybear.

“Leaf is from a large family and he is home-schooled and he is not very intelligent,” Brechbill said. “He has more of a struggle with spelling things. He’s not expected to make it this far. He has ADHD. He gets sidetracked a lot. I’m trying to portray that as well as I can. You have a lot of nervous energy when you are acting, so pretending you are energetic is not that hard.”

Brechbill said it was the only role he auditioned for.

“It was the only one that was around my vocal range and the most fun, in my opinion, to play,” Brechbill said. “It spoke to me, I guess. This is really only my one time a year being on stage and it feels good.”

Junior Jordan Carpenter is the student director.

“Since sixth grade, I’ve been on stage and I’ve done a lot of that,” Carpenter said. “I really like backstage work, so I wanted to try directing, too.”

Tickets are $10 and available at the door. Those from outside the school can email john_neubauer@nobl.k12.in.us and use Musical Tickets in subject line. Include name, number of tickets desired.


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