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Spotlight Arts announces winter cast of local students in 

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”



Spotlight Arts Inc., a youth theatre company in Brewster, NY just started rehearsals for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and is thrilled to announce its winter mainstage cast of local talent who will perform the hilarious musical at the Schoolhouse Theater on January 12, 13 & 14.  Written by Rachel Sheinkin and music and lyrics by William Finn, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is about an eclectic group of students who vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get a juice box. 

The cast consists of talented local students from Putnam and Fairfield counties: Emma Duffy (Leaf’s Mom/Featured Speller) and Therase Kutzy (Mom/Featured Speller) of New Fairfield, CT; Asher Duke (Dan Dad), Talia Rubeo (Featured Speller) and Brooke Ryan (Leaf’s Sister/Featured Speller) of Carmel, NY; Ariel Johnson (Featured Speller) of Mahopac, NY; Megan Campbell (Olive Ostrovsky), Bridget Courtney (Featured Speller), Andrew DiFabbio (William Barfee), James Hartigan (Chip Tolentino) and Erin Vaughan (Rona Lisa Peretti) of Patterson, NY; Gillian Anderson (Leaf’s Dad/Featured Speller), Skye Connolly (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre), Cati Conway (Comfort Counselor), Jennifer DeSantis (Olive’s Mom), Isabella DiDio (Leaf’s Sister/Featured Speller), RJ Frankenberry (Leaf Coneybear), Cecilia Guida (Vice Principal Panch), Charlie Fitzpatrick (Marcy Park), Layla Pagan (Featured Speller), Ben Pollak (Leaf’s Dad/Featured Speller), and Brandon Salamone (Carl Dad/Jesus/Olive’s Dad) of Brewster, NY. 

The mainstage students are very excited for the comedic performance experience.  RJ Frankenberry, a sophomore from Brewster High School who plays Leaf Coneybear in the production is a fan of the script and his hysterical cast mates. He adds, “the cast of this show is so funny that without a script, they could put together terrific jokes. With the hilarious, comedic lines in the script, however, they’ll have you busting a gut like you never had before.”  

Spotlight Arts mainstage director Eric Leiggi returns to the creative team to direct and choreograph the production. “For my fifth show with Spotlight Arts, I really wanted to create a special and unique experience for the students. I was thrilled when we picked SPELLING BEE, as it allows for some fun new elements for Spotlight Arts audiences like onstage seating and improvisations by the cast. Most importantly, this show features a relatively small cast of characters that are all age appropriate to the students who are portraying them on stage, which is allowing for some impressive, detailed character work from our young actors,” says Leiggi. Leiggi will direct alongside Stephanie Rubino, Spotlight Arts’ Executive Director, who will serve as producer and musical director. Brandon Salamone returns as assistant director and the production is stage managed by Sarah Daleo with assistant stage management by Alonzo McLemore.   

Spotlight Arts Inc.'s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will be entertaining audiences at the Schoolhouse Theater on January 12th at 7:30pm, January 13th at 2:00pm and 7:30pm, and January 14th at 2:00pm. Premium VIP seating (first 3 rows) are $15 and standard general admission tickets are $12 when you buy them online in advance before January 12th. Tickets cost $15 at the door if there are any seats left; performances are expected to sell out. Tickets can be purchased at



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