Charming, engaging and laced with a whole lotta awkward, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre allows the chance to look back at the junior high years from a different — and much funnier — perspective.
Although dealing with a group of competitive youngsters can be challenging, the glue that keeps the bee together is Rona Lisa Peretti (Andi Watson), the ladylike, peppy but nostalgic spelling bee announcer who encourages every child while reminiscing on her own champion days. Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Scott McLean Harrison) obviously struggles to be taken seriously, but the character’s delivery of improvised lines and hilariously crafted one-liners is not to be missed.
Patrick Halley as William Morris Barfee
Most of the bee’s participants are outcasts at their own schools but manage to form relationships of some sort at the competition. But since the production relies heavily on improv, the musical gets added hilarity when volunteer audience members join the cast — some spelling words as simple as “cow,” and others spelling more difficult terms I wouldn’t dare attempt in front of a live audience.
Character Olive Ostrovsky (Conly Basham), luckily, comes into the bee with her best friend, the … Read more >
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo
The Charity Olive Hour features a live and silent auction at Next Level Events to support Special Olympics Arkansas. There will be 10 live-auction items, as well as more than 350 silent-auction goodies that athletes across Arkansas have created. The event’s $30 entry fee also includes hors d’oeuvres and complimentary drinks. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
The Arkansas Arts Center’s third annual Fountain Fest presents another unveiling of the work of the center’s art-design-contest winner. Fountain Fest also features tastes from ZAZA Fine Salad & Wood-Oven Pizza Co., David’s Burgers and Cupcakes on Kavanaugh. A Louis Vuitton purse worth more than $1,200 will be raffled. The outdoor fest takes place around the Carrie Remmel Dickinson fountain at the center. Tickets are $40.
Arkansas Life magazine presents The Modern Arkansas Table Launch and Tasting Party at Loft 1023 in downtown Little Rock from 6-8 p.m. The Modern Arkansas Table is the magazine’s first-ever cookbook and features 40 recipes from some of Arkansas’ best chefs. The admission fee to the launch event includes a recipe tasting, a copy of the book, drinks and a three-month subscription to Arkansas Life. … Read more >
Tommy Martinez as Chip Tolentino in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
W.O.W.APALOOZA returns to support Women’s Own Worth, an organization that offers financial support, therapy and programs to those affected by domestic violence and other violent crimes. The fundraiser — which includes drinks, dinner and a silent auction — takes place at the Governor’s Mansion from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $50.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opens at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre at 8 p.m. The Tony Award-winning comedic musical follows junior high students on the cutthroat quest of becoming a spelling bee champion while dealing with the nuances of adolescence. Opening night includes a post-show reception with champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $30-$55.
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art opens to the public at the Arkansas Arts Center. The exhibit features 93 works of modern and contemporary Latino art provided by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The Arts Center is open 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Senior Expo takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center. … Read more >
Sixth grade is making a W-O-R-D-Y comeback.
Beginning Friday, cutthroat middle school students will compete for the spelling bee title when Tony Award-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opens at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, reminding audiences of the quirks and nuances that come with growing up.
For the bee’s youngest competitor, Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, the spelling bee is about taking part in healthy competition — and winning.
“Some of these characters are maybe thrown in there by their parents or do this every year, or maybe they’re the type of kid that competes in spelling but also plays softball and also plays basketball and takes art classes,” says Tessa Faye, who plays Logainne. “[For] my character, Logainne, this is an academic competition, and she’s there to win.”
Chip Tolentino is the previous year’s champion who comes from a very supportive background, but this time around throws him for a loop when he experiences “some of the changes that occur as you grow into manhood,” says Tommy Martinez, who plays Chip.
For other students, awkward moments kicked in a lot earlier.
William Morris Barfee (pronounced “bar-fay”) wears huge glasses, a middle part, has lots of sweat and … Read more >
Courtesy of Spike TV
Back in June, Sherwood tattoo artist Matt O’Baugh and his apprentice, Katie McGowan, embarked on an inky journey to the top spot of Spike TV’s Ink Master.
Now, weeks after McGowan’s elimination, O’Baugh holds a spot in the show’s Top 3.
With the grand prize of $100,000 and an editorial feature in Inked magazine in mind, Black Cobra Tattoos owner O’Baugh won Tuesday night’s challenge on composition, contrast, saturation and details. The remaining artists were tasked with tattooing four different designs in four different ways, each drafting a design based on skulls that all the artists would tattoo on a human canvas within 90 minutes.
Winning the 15th challenge of the season automatically placed O’Baugh in the Top 3.
Be sure to tune in to the Oct. 13 live finale, a first in Ink Master history, to see which artist takes the grand prize.
For more on O’Baugh and McGowan, click here and here.… Read more >
The Legacies & Lunch program presents Arkansas Sounds Gone By at noon at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library. The free program highlights songs about Arkansas or written by state natives. Using tunes taken from the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies’ Ron Robinson Sheet Music Collection, performers such as Bob Boyd, Richard Hunter, Stephanie Smittle and more will lead the showcase. Click here for more information.
Wildwood Park for the Arts hosts Dreaming Sophia, a six-piece band that specializes in “eclectic folk,” at 7 p.m. Drawing inspiration from Ozark culture, the band has created songs featuring jazz and alternative-rock characteristics, too. Entry is a suggested donation of $15, and doors open at 6:30 p.m. The concert takes place at Wildwood’s pavilion.
In a city said to have plenty of haunted locations, one ghost hunter is presenting a way for locals to see it for themselves. Pulaski Technical College and Rhonda Burton of Arkansas Ghost Catchers present a Ghost Hunting Class and Investigation at MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History at 6:30 p.m. The $25 class will guide students on hunting equipment and techniques, along with providing evidence of spirits. Students will also participate in … Read more >