Monday, November 28, 2022

25th Annual Putnam Bee Research, Part 2

Eccentricities, typos and more!  Feel free to add anything I missed.

Vocal Scoring Quirks
Throughout the musical score, singers are referred to by their initials or first names (with occasional changes).  
CT - Chip Tolentino
LC - Leaf Coneybear (Except when he is labelled CB)
LS - Logainne Schwarzandgrubenierre, aka Schwarzy (Except when she is labelled Sch)
MP - Marcy Park
OO - Olive Ostrovsky
WB - William Barfee 
RP - Rona Lisa Peretti (Except when she is labelled RL)
MM - Mitch Mahoney

Everything is written in the treble clef, so you will need to transpose Chip Tolentino, Leaf Coneybear, Mitch Mahoney and William Barfee consistently down the octave. Exception - William Barfee often has (8va) written next to his part - presumably meaning 'sing in written octave' when present.  There are casts that can perform it exactly as written - other times you may need to adjust octaves for who you are working with.      

Note: Several of the songs use the vocal part designations 'Boys' and 'Girls' - plan your pronouns with care when working with non-binary casts.  

General Notes By Song
#1 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Leaf C's entrance in m.93 was a bit tricky with the asymmetry caused by m. 92a.  I (and Leaf) found it easier to cut m. 92a, and change the last 2 beats of m. 92 (a la OBC recording) to indicate the vamp is moving on.   

#2 My Friend the Dictionary
M. 97-end:  remember Olive is written an octave above where she sounds.   

#6 Pandemonium Reprise
Piano/Vocal score doesn't have voice designations for m. 21-24

#7 Prayer of the Comfort Counselor
Neither scores have song vocal assignments for m. 29-36 
Libretto/Vocal score is missing m. 38-39 E minor Oohs 
Oohs and Aahs harmonies have no vocal indications to the end of song

#9 My Unfortunate Erection
This song has alternative lyrics available: My Unfortunate Distraction.

#11 Spelling Montage
Spoken cues in the PV score/Vocal score differ from the actual libretto.  
Libretto version cues (pg 49):
"Please spell indicant" = m. 1   
"Please spell vulpine" =  m. 3 
"Hallux" = m. 5
... after that its a judgement call (we used "Palaver" at m. 7), tempo quickly increasing in gibberish until Olive steps up to the mic - then sudden slow motion.  

Correlating the music and dialogue in m. 11-25 is somewhat tricky, definitely practice dialogue with the music during blocking.  

#11B Coneybear Goodbye (instrumental underscoring)
The synth piano score is waaaay easier to read from than the PC score.

#12 I Speak Six Languages
TMD and PMD research revealed the following information (sorry I can't credit the specific people who provided the info, feel free to credit in the comments)

Foreign language sections are almost a literal translation of the first verse:
Je peux parler six langues (French): “I (can) speak six languages”
Cada idioma es simple (Spanish): “Every (each) language (is) easy”
Jerro o yo no reshipe no yasashi desu (Japanese): “(It’s) easy as the recipe for (making) Jello”
Ya gavaryu shest yaziki (Russian): “I speak six languages”
V'ani yodat shalom (Hebrew): “And I (can) say hello”
Im Noch mindestens sieben mehr (German): “In at least seven more”
   *Note that the PV and vocal scores have a misspelling ("seiben" instead of "sieben") - it's spelled correctly in the script, though.  

#13 - Jesus
Have the cast sing their most operatic random note in any range until cut off.

#13a  Three Spellers Remain!  
Play approximately 2 measures before cut off by phone ringing (they provide 14 measures of underscoring for some reason).  
The cutoff in m.22 is not specified anywhere other than [Sudden stop on cue]: your director's choice.  

#16 and 17B - Second Part I and Part II
Teach these early, they're hard.

#20 Finale
No vocal assignments m. 34-end

#21 Bows
No vocal assignments in final goodbyes m. 32 - it just says 'all'.  I think they just didn't care by this point in the show.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee Research, Part 1

All of the things to get you started with Spelling Bee:
[Be careful with online vocal ranges, btw - some of them are suspect.  I'm 99% certain the following is correct]

Chip Tolentino
An athletic, social, boy scout and champion of the 24th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment. Male, teen, Range: C3 – B4. 

Logainne Schwartzandgrubeniere (Schwartzy)
Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. She is driven by internal and external pressure, but above all by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp, and will be back next year. Female, teen, Range A3 – F5

Marcy Park
The ultimate overachiever, Marcy has never been given another option. She comes from a family where excellence is expected and so simply produced. A parochial school student, she assumes God, too, expects perfection. She sees herself as a mass of problems but she keeps them to herself.  Female, Teen, Range C4 – E5.

Olive Ostrovsky
A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. Having found comfort in its words and vastness, Olive made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition. She starts enormously shy, and slowly blossoms. Female, teen, Range B3 – F5.

Leaf Coneybear
The second runner-up in his district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the bee incredibly amusing. He is home-schooled and comes from a large family of former hippies. He spells words correctly while in a trance. Male, teen, Range A2 – A4

William Barfee
A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and is back for vindication. His famous “Magic Foot” method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril
and a touchy, bullying personality. He develops a crush on Olive. Male, teen, Range E2 – B4.

Rona Lisa Peretti
The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and the returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch and his feelings for her. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and drives it forward. Female, Adult, Range B3 – F5.

Mitch Mahoney
The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He has no idea how to offer comfort, but does find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better. Male, Early 20s, G3 – A4.

Douglas Panch
The Vice Principal. Frustrated with his life, he finds the drive of the young spellers alien to him. After five years’ absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an “incident” at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in “a better place” now, thanks to a better diet. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, who does not return his affections. Male, Adult, Range N/A. 

OTHER CHARACTERS (may be doubled by actors playing parts listed above)
Carl Dad: Schwarzy’s main trainer, the more intense and competitive of Schwarzy’s fathers. Range C3 – E4.

Dan Dad: Dan is the more laid back and ineffectual of Schwarzy’s fathers. Range C3 – G4.

Jesus Christ: Deity invoked by a speller in need. Range N/A. 

Leaf’s Mom, Dad, and Siblings: All more academically gifted than Leaf, they are even more surprised than he is by his success. Range N/A. 

Olive’s Dad: A fantasy version of Olive’s dad coming to the bee from work. Range E3 – B4.

Olive’s Mom: A fantasy version of Olive’s mom at her Ashram in India. Range D4 – E5.

Cello (NO bass book)
Synthesizer/Keys 2  
Reed 1 - (Alto Sax, Bb Clarinet, Flute, Oboe)

I performed this show solo, so I cannot fully comment on the programming experience.  I've read comments that have noted the Keys 2/Synth book is the biggest challenge to program.  

Chip Tolentino - #9 My Unfortunate Erection  m. 86-end 
Schwartzy - #10 Woe Is Me  m. 69-end   
Marcy Park - #12 I speak Six Languages  m. 24-51
Olive Ostrovsky - #14 I Love You Song   m. 94-137
Leaf Coneybear - #4 I'm not that Smart   m. 47-end
William Barfee -  #5 Magic Foot  m. 87-end
Rona Lisa Peretti - #6B Rona Moment #2 or #3
Mitch Mahoney - #7 Prayer of the Comfort Counselor  m. 38-56
Douglas Paunch - #1a The Rules or #11 m. 25-end  
Carl Dad - #10 Woe is Me m. 95-end
Dan Dad - #10 Woe is Me m. 95-end
Olive Dad - #14 I Love You Song m. 171-end
Olive Mom - #14 I Love You Song m. 159-180

Another TMD/PMD suggestion for picking callback music: try a Google search for "auditions [or "callbacks"] 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee".  With any luck, you may find a theater or school's callback material available online.