GV Opera Theatre holds audition for musical


Courtesy / GVSU Amanda Pitts

Steven Lawrence, Staff Writer

On Sept. 16 auditions were held for Grand Valley State University Opera Theatre’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” 

The auditions were open to all GVSU students, not just theatre students, to give all who were interested the opportunity to partake in this musical comedy. The show will take place in February.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” was written by William Finn and made its debut in 2005. The play centers around a group of quirky middle-school-aged adolescents, who are participating in a spelling bee at the made-up Putnam Valley Middle School and the strange adults who run the event. The GVSU Opera Theatre wanted to bring and share this story with the community. 

From the audition, both the turn-out and the talent of those who auditioned excited Dale Schreimer, the Artistic Director of GVSU Opera Theatre.

“Auditions went really well,” Schreimer said. “I brought in a professional stage director from Seattle for this project, Pauls Macs. He was in Allendale for the casting.”

The auditions also saw an influx of people wanting to get involved with the production’s cast.   

“Three times as many people as we could cast showed up and there were many personal best performances,” Schreimer said. “We were extremely happy with the results.”

Schreimer said that those who auditioned brought the characters’ quirks and personalities to life. Schreimer said that this type of character embodiment is an important part of the story. 

“It is a show that really emphasizes personality quirks,” Schreimer said. “All the contestants are middle schoolers so their individuality is what, in part, makes the comedy.” 

However, Schreimer said the cast needs to be able to mesh and work together in a positive way to embody the work. He is optimistic about the cast’s ability to execute these ideas.

“Part of what is so good about this cast is that there is an overwhelming sense of positivity and excitement about working together,” Schreimer said. “It’s very much an ensemble show.” 

The musical begins rehearsal in January the weekend before the winter semester starts. Rehearsals will take place Monday through Saturday, with Wednesdays off. 

Individuals also have the ability to be involved in the production without being a performer. Schreimer said the opera theatre is always looking for students to help backstage and can contact him at [email protected]

The musical is scheduled for February 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. with performances on February 19 and 26 at 2:00 p.m. The performance will take place at the Louis Armstrong Theatre in the GVSU Haas Center for Performing Arts.