#TheaterPH - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: An Interactive Musical Comedy!

Fresh off of 2023’s smash hit Bawat Bonggang Bagay starring Jon Santos, The Sandbox Collective returns with another interactive production guaranteed to have its audiences buzzing. In partnership with ABS-CBN, Star Magic, and Teatro Kapamilya, the collective kicks off its tenth year with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: An Interactive Musical Comedy!

Aiming to be a full-sensory experience, the musical will utilize a multimedia approach powered by SAMSUNG NEO QLED, using screens and cameras to place the audience in the midst of a live show taping. In charge of executing this vision will be D Cortezano as lighting designer and technical director, Aji Manalo as sound designer, and Joyce Garcia as video designer. On the decision to make the musical an interactive production, managing artistic director Toff de Venecia says, “It’s always been the vision for Sandbox to produce multimedia work that combines artistic disciplines with theater as the foundation to innovate our content. When [director] Missy pitched her vision to the team, it was a resounding Y-E-S!”

Another notable feature of the musical is the involvement of “guest spellers.” In every show, four members of the audience will be given the chance to join the cast onstage as fellow contestants of the bee. Not only will this contribute to the immersive nature of the production, but it also ensures that every show will have a wild card element in the form of these guest spellers. Helming the production as director is renowned actress, educator, and current President of Philippine Theater Actors Guild Missy Maramara. Joining her is SPIT Manila founding member and theater actor Dingdong Rosales, and the directorial duo plans to weave their improv backgrounds into their directing approach. Maramara shares, “We bring that same joy of improv in developing the collaborative nature of worldbuilding. The improv and theater exercises we put the cast through develops their characters while it prepares them to handle the unscripted parts of the musical.”

The cast will feature Star Magic talents AC Bonifacio and Shanaia Gomez in the role of Marcy Park, and Krystal Brimner and Angela Ken in the role of Olive Ostrovsky. Becca Coates and Justine Narciso will share the role of Loggaine SchwartzAndGrubennierre, and alternating in the role of Chip Tolentino will be Diego Aranda and Luis Marcelo. Rounding out the spelling bee contestants will be Joshy Ramirez and Ron Balgos in the role of William Barfée, and Elian Dominguez and Shaun Ocrisma in the role of Leaf Coneybear. The show will also feature theater veterans as Spelling Bee’s adult characters: Audie Gemora and Robbie Guevara as Vice Principal Douglas Panch, Nyoy Volante and Jordan Andrews (in certain performances) as Mitch Mahoney, and Liesl Batucan-Del Rosario as Rona Lisa Peretti.

TOYM and Walt Disney Legacy awardee Rony Fortich, the founding musical director of Hong Kong Disneyland, will be bringing William Finn’s score to life as the show’s musical director. Completing the artistic team will be Franco Ramos as choreographer, Tata Tuviera as production designer, D Cortezano as lighting designer and technical director, Aji Manalo as sound designer, and Joyce Garcia as video designer.

Helming The Sandbox Collective’s production team is Toff de Venecia as managing artistic director, with Anna Santamaria as operations and finance director, Isabella Jose-Gregorio as marketing and public relations director, Maine Manalansan as design director, Charyl de Guzman as production manager, Pachot Festejo as production stage manager, and Salve Villarosa as marketing and public relations manager. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will run from February 24 to March 17, 2024 at the Power Mac Center Spotlight Black Box Theater, Circuit Makati.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is powered by SAMSUNG NEO QLED, with special thanks to MAC COSMETICS, our official makeup partner; BENCH/, our official clothing partner; YUPANGCO MUSIC, our official music partner, POWER MAC CENTER SPOTLIGHT BLACK BOX THEATER, our sponsor and venue partner; PITCHWORKS, our official billboard partner; PRIVATO HOTEL, our official hotel partner, and our media partners: CNN Philippines; Adobo Magazine; Theater Fans Manila; Young STAR; When In Manila.com; Palabas Tayo; and RANK MAGAZINE, our premier media partner.

Tickets are now available through our show buyers and through Ticket2Me online: bit.ly/spellsandbox2024

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