When Fraggled Productions’ run of Urinetown closed in October 2012, I was incredibly excited to see what would happen next. Now – a year and a half later – the musical follow-up, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, just had its final show. It has been a long process (or at least it has felt like it), but it has been an extremely fun one.
It has been quite a couple months. After an April consisting of five to six rehearsals a week – often 3 to 4 hours a night – we are finally well into our run of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at The Cupcake Theatre. The run is almost over, in fact (some tickets are still available for this weekend, in stubborn support of one co-worker’s disbelief at the possibility of a sell-out). This month’s schedule has, on the surface, been much more manageable; just two shows a week, and no rehearsals in between. But rather than feeling refreshed and recharged, I find myself more fatigued than ever. I feel like Jimmy Stewart at the end of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. And I’m not sure why.
“There’s no good pizza in LA.” That is a statement that is mostly true. Although, it might be more appropriate to say “there’s no great pizza in LA.” There’s plenty of fine pizza joints, but nothing that launches me over the moon. Now I’m sure I’m going to get hundreds of comments (what else is new?) about this or that particular place where the pizza is “really good.” Shove it up your bum, I say. Becoming familiar with a certain type of pizza is not the same as liking it. And that’s all it is really. We transplants have become complacent in our pizza judgments. Hell, I’ve come to possess the opinion that Domino’s is kind of good. And I hate myself for that. One local joint that I don’t hate myself for enjoying is Joe’s Pizza.
Jeez, this happened fast. Two days ago I was complaining about a jerk with some unfortunate opinions, but I was healthy as I did it. Now all of a sudden I’m a mess; sore throat, stuffed up in most every orifice, generally fatigued. It’s just not fair. Maybe the man who left that comment on Goldstar (but your tickets here) is a witch, and has cursed me with his written words. Or maybe I’ve created the illness myself, as sort of psychosomatic reaction. Or maybe I’m really sick. Doesn’t matter, really. All I can do is hope I’m in good enough shape to Barfée it up tomorrow night.
Welcome to part two of what unexpectedly became a double assessment of the review process. I was more than happy to move on to a brand new topic, until reality slapped me in the face with a hard slice of truth. I thought all I had to worry about were reviews from the professionals. What I forgot about were comment sections.
Welp folks, opening night has come and gone, and from my perspective Fraggled Productions‘ newly minted run of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (exclusively at The Cupcake Theatre) is pretty great. Full disclosure: that perspective is set firmly onstage looking out into the audience, so I may not be the most impartial judge. Luckily a couple of less partial individuals found the time to come to our first show and jot down their impressions. And that’s just what I want to talk about.
All of my fans – the Cohen-heads – know what the main endeavor in my life has been of late: Fraggled Productions‘ upcoming run of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at The Cupcake Theater in Hollywood. After a long, arduous month of rehearsal, we open in two days (Friday, May 2nd). The entire cast and crew is primed to make a big splash in the world-famous Los Angeles indie theatre community. But such quality can only arise from hard work, dedication, and hours of talking and singing in weird voices.
Cards on the table: it is 2:59 am, and I have been awake since 5:50. I’m tired as hell. This is a nothing of a review, and I am fine with that. I hope you all can come to terms with this. Fact of the matter is, I didn’t do much in the way of new experiences today. My plan to see Under the Skin (at midnight) was pleasantly derailed by a chance to socialize with people that I like. You know what I have done lately? I have given myself new hurdles to… hurdle. I don’t know, I’m exhausted.
Much like the recent Jason Bateman movie Bad Words, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee concerns itself with the competitors in the titular spell-off. Unlike its more cinematic counterpart, the stage musical develops it’s characters in a believable fashion, giving the event stakes that matter for everyone involved. Bad Words was not a bad movie, but the screenwriter would have done well to take a few more cues from Spelling Bee.