Coyote Productions First Musical in Over 28 Years
The Coyote productions produced a cynical play called The Crucible in the spring. But in the fall the production company of Madera High came out with the first musical in 28 years entitled The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
During the singing audition, the kids were terrified. Their stomachs fluttered like a storm and some began to doubt why they went. But there were a few who knew they nailed the auditions.
Sophomore Madison Stone made it. She played Olive Ostrovsky, a sweet girl who was abused by her father while her mother was in India. Ostrovsky thus became best friends with a dictionary and her love for spelling blossomed.
But she was not the only character with an unusual role. Chip Tolentino, played by Sophomore Benjamin Wood, was the first main speller to get out when he fumbled to spell the word ‘tittup’ because of his unfortunate distraction. “This [musical] is very adult. This one has sex references. But it’s also very funny too,” Stone said.
Senior Joseph Barros has had the help of professionals, but that didn’t stop his nerves. “In all honesty, that was the most nervous I’ve ever felt. I had butterflies, but otherwise I was fine.” Barros said. And he successfully landed the role of William Barfee, an obnoxious and uncomfortable boy who continuously got enraged when the announcers mispronounced his last name. As the musical progressed, Barfee gained an interest in Ostrovsky and vise versa.
Some students were hesitant. Take Junior Christopher Linares. He did not want to audition for this musical because his family told him he didn’t sing well. He snagged the role of Mitchell M. Mahony, the comfort counselor of the story. In order to sing a song Mahony delivered to a competitor, Linares had to hit high notes. He would often complain, claiming he could not reach the soprano range. The vocal coach, Miss. Evangelista helped him so he was successful in every performance.
An experienced dancer of 35 years, Michelle Lynn Harvey came to bring the show to life and create the choreography. During rehearsals and auditions, she was patient and aware of students’
struggles. “Everybody has rhythm. Some take a little longer to develop it, but everybody has rhythm.”
Kayla Anderson and Majesty Aleman have theatre production experience. Kayla has been in previous plays as an actress and Majesty has controlled lights. In the musical the girls became music technicians. Kayla said, “It is not that difficult, but it’s more of having to pay constant attention for when to signal Majesty for a cue.”
The cast sang goofy songs about misadventures of puberty, family issues, and of course about spelling. Kody Coushman had the privilege of being an audience member and background dancer for a rehearsal and performance. He was full of enthusiasm in the way he danced and laughed at the jokes the characters made. Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, a young girl who spelled every word given to her with ease, had her two dads put an extreme amount of pressure on her shoulders to win the spelling bee. But in the end, the cast became a family.