The musical journal of this year’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was full of firsts for both of us. With backgrounds in pop/rock vocal training and choir coaching—notably not musical theatre—we didn’t exactly know what we were getting ourselves into. On top of that, this was also our first foray into the wild world of CA’s senior drama production; a world of big personalities, bigger hearts, and persevering passion.  

Everything started in the music room, settling into a new cast and working team, introduced to new roles and melodies alike. We must extend extraordinary gratitude to Ms. Becky Funk for her generosity in lending us her time and depth of musical knowledge (plus her sight-reading skills, which—as the cast members know—we sorely lack) in these early stages. Diving into this work served well to remind us that every day is an opportunity for learning, growing, and changing, and that CA is a community built on this idea. Even beyond the classroom, and even beyond the role of “student”, we found ourselves on the incline of a steep learning curve, like the first, long climb of a roller coaster. Putting on a show of this scale is inherently challenging (excuse the understatement!), and we appreciate the cast’s patience, kindness, and welcoming positivity—with one another and with us. Such challenges would not be surmountable without a supportive community, and we are so lucky to have had that with this cast.  

Something we learned about challenges is that when you take them on with strong support alongside you, they are exciting. Hearing the possibilities of what we could strive for during our first listen of the Original Broadway Cast recording; listening to our vocal ranges waver then stretch to new highs and lows; and feeling the swelling layering of a harmony in our chests the first time we nailed it. We dreamed big in our approach to the music in this show, pushing the cast to take risks and asking them to put in long—and often tiring—hours of hard work and effort. Over time, we grew; we moved from the music room to the theatre, and danced while we sang; we realized goals that seemed lofty in October; we pulled together the threads of music, choreography, blocking, and, of course, acting, until we reached our end result—a vibrant and lively tapestry of storytelling.  

Thank you first and foremost to the cast, without whom this show would not come to life. Thank you to the rest of the production team, and especially to Leeanne, Andrea, Jane, Stacy, and Hayley for your continuous teamwork and collaboration, and for welcoming us both into CA’s drama community. Thank you to all of the behind-the-scenes crew: students and teachers who have worked hard to keep this process forward-moving and for working tirelessly in the background to bring the performance today to you. And, finally, thank you to everyone here for supporting and celebrating our cast and crew as they get ready to spell your socks off.   

Your Musical Direction Team,
Paige Stoffregen
Katherine Meeks