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“Spelling Bee” Auditions! June 2016

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee 

Stage Director & Choreographer: Justin McCoubry, Musical Director: John Eldridge

Audition dates: Monday June 20, 7PM, Saturday June 25, 1PM

Please bring two contrasting songs that show vocal and character range – emphasis on character! They should be in the style of the show (contemporary musical) but not from the show. There will be an accompanist. You will also be asked to read scenes from the show.

Please bring your resume and headshot.
Please fill out this form and bring a copy: Spelling Bee audition form

Groups of actors will be scheduled in one-hour blocks.

 Callbacks: Sunday June 26, 1PM

You will be asked to read for the specific character you are being called back for, and sing through songs from the show (you’ll know ahead of time which songs so you can prepare). There will also be a short movement piece.

Rehearsal dates:

Rehearsals will begin the end of June, and throughout the summer will only be on weekday evenings so you can have your summer weekends free!

Production dates:

Sept 9-11, Sept 16-18, Sept 23-25. Performance times are 8PM on Fri and Sat, 4PM on Sunday

Actors and actresses of all age ranges, races, shapes and sizes are encouraged to audition. The directing team is open to casting roles in unconventional and unexpected ways.

Questions? Want to schedule a time slot? Contact Judy Weinberg, production manager, at, or leave a message on the theatre’s voice mail, 781-646-5922, Ext. 1.


LOGAINNE SCHWARTZANDGRUNENIERRE: At ten years old, Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. “SCHWARTZY” 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.

RANGE: A3 – F5
Requires a strong comedic character actress, with strong vocal and harmonizing skills.

MARCY PARK: A recent transfer from Virginia, Marcy placed ninth in last year’s nationals. She speaks six languages, is a member of all-American hockey, a championship rugby player, plays Chopin and Mozart on multiple instruments, sleeps only three hours a night, hides in the bathroom cabinet, and is getting very tired of always winning. She is the poster child for the OverAchiever, and attends a Catholic school called “Our Lady of Intermittent Sorrows.” She is also not allowed to cry.

RANGE: C4 – E5
Requires a strong comedic character actress, with strong vocal and harmonizing skills. Also requires strong movement skills – strange talents and tricks are welcomed!

OLIVE OSTROVSKY: A 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 shyly blossoms.

RANGE: B3 – F5
Requires a strong comedic character actress, with strong vocal and harmonizing skills.

CHIP TOLENTINO: An athletic Boy Scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment. One of the oldest in the bunch, Chip is overconfident and a bit of a show off.

RANGE: C4 – B5

Requires a strong comedic character actor, with very strong vocal and harmonizing skills.

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 has severe Attention Deficit Disorder and spells words correctly while in a trance.

RANGE: A3 – A5
Requires a very strong comedic character actor, with strong vocal and harmonizing skills.

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, nerdy personality.  He develops a crush on Olive despite is focus on the win.
RANGE: E4 – B5
Requires a very strong comedic character actor, with strong vocal and harmonizing skills. Some movement ability is a plus.


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. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and drives it forward. She is a show-woman – polished and poised.

Requires a strong comedic character actress, with great improv skills. Also very strong vocal and harmonizing skills.

MITCH or MADGE MAHONEY: The Official Comfort Counselor. An exconvict, Mitch/Madge is performing community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He/She has no idea how to offer comfort, but does find him/herself wishing he/she could find a way to make the kids feel better.

RANGE: E4 – A5
Requires a strong comedic character actor/actress, with very strong vocal and harmonizing skills.

DOUGLAS PANCH: The Vice Principal of Putnam Middle School. 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 diet change.

Requires a strong comedic character actor, with great improv skills. Some singing required.


Sunday, April 17! If you’re coming to Oz, please beware of the parade

Hey Friends,

We just learned that Arlington is hosting the Patriot’s Day Parade on Sunday, 2-4pm. This will bump right up to the matinee performance of “Boy from Oz” at 4pm.

We will be starting on time, and we advise you to leave some time to get to the theater and find parking. Mass Ave will be blocked off until 5pm. You can approach Academy Street from other directions, and park on side streets or in the Town Hall parking lot.

Thank you!

The town web site notes the following:

Road Closures and Parking Restrictions

  • Beginning at 8am, there will be no parking on Mass Ave. Lowell St., Forest St., Acton St. and Appleton St. will be closed to through traffic.
  • Beginning at 12pm, Mass Ave between Park Ave and Pleasant St. will be closed to all traffic.
  • Beginning at 1pm, Mass Ave between Pleasant St. and Linwood Ave will be closed to all traffic.
    All closures and restrictions will be lifted at by 5pm.

AFD Board news

AFD truly is a community endeavor, powered by volunteers all over the place: from box office to stage to the green room, and beyond.

The Board works wicked hard to make it all run smoothly. Terms last three years, elections happen every year… here’s the next batch! Thanks to everyone who’s willing to pitch in and help.

AFD Board of Directors, 2016-2017

President                           David Warnock (inc)

Vice President                  Clare Livak

Recording Secretary       Lis Adams

Treasurer                           Joe Stallone (inc)

Development Director  Wilda Ward (inc)

Program Director            Jim Grana (inc, see note below)

House Director                Mark Bastoni (inc)

Publicity Director            Nancy Rogier

Technical Director          Iain Bason (inc)

Box Office                          Cynthia Mardsen

Membership                     Mary Fitzpatrick (inc)

Nominating committee: Gareth Williams, Charlie Carr, Donna Allen

About the Program Director position

The nominating committee is responsible for locating people who are good candidates and willing to serve. Occasionally, a position goes unfilled. That happened this year with the Program Director position.

Jim Grana had held the position for three years and was due to retire; however, there was no one ready and willing to step into the role. It is a role that requires a depth and breadth of knowledge about AFD, and about the process of reviewing, selecting, and negotiating for plays.

Upon reflection, and consultation with the current board, the nominating committee recommended that Jim serve one more term, with the understanding that he would be training and preparing someone on the Play Reading Committee (PRC) to step into the role next season.

The AFD Parliamentarian, Jud Pierce, reviewed the bylaws and agreed this was legal:

  • “I have reviewed the bylaws and do not see anything which prohibits the BoD from appointing, with advice and consent of the nominating committee, the current director who has completed his or her elected 3-year term in office to fill the vacancy by serving an additional period of time in the same function until a successor is elected.”

After the election meeting, there were suggestions for other candidates; all were contacted and declined to serve.

So the board has appointed Jim for the next season; and he is grooming people to step into the role.

The people who would be best suited to serve will be on the Play Reading Committee for this season. The Committee has five people, selected to represent different aspects of the community: actors, directors, technicians, and so on. The Program Director, in consultation with the board, selects these people.

If you’re interested in serving on the PRC, please get in touch. Email Jim at Do be aware that it requires a great deal of time and commitment, and meets several times throughout the summer.

If you’re interested in any other job with AFD, also please get in touch! We’d love to fold you into our productions and our community.



Gareth Williams, Lord of the box office

Join us for “Women of AFD” in June

SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, June 19, 2016, 7:30- 9:00pm

Mark your calendars for the last business meeting of the 2015-2016 season on June 19th which will bring special entertainment.

ALSO: directors for next season’s shows will be presenting!

Conceived and directed by Ellen Kazin, we’ll visit “The Women of AFD.”The show features women who’ve appeared in leading or featured roles on the AFD stage reprising their their finest moments. You’ll recognize some of our actresses, enjoy the talents of some of our “long past” performers, and learn some of the backstage fun and foibles of the shows in which they appeared.

You don’t want to miss the fun and memories. Watch for the next Prologue for ore information.

Your old wicker patio furniture can star in our next play

(Before we begin, “Boy from Oz” is just three performances away from closing. So DO THAT FIRST.)

Now then. The next play up is “Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike,” a rompin stompin comedy by Christopher Durang which won all the awards and pleased all the audiences.

It takes place at a country home, on the patio, and features a set of wicker furniture. Charlotte Kelley, who handled the props for “Oz,”is calling out to our great and good Friends to see if anyone has wicker furniture they’d be willing to lend for a month or so: mid May to mid June.

Ideally: 2 chairs, a loveseat, and a table. Or, we’ll take individual pieces and do what we can to make them match.

We can pick it up and deliver it back (or pass it on). It can be a little tired, and we’ll spruce it up (and return it, or not). (It does need to hold the actors, though, so it can’t be exhausted.)

How easy is that? You may have some in your garage or basement or yard or porch… it can be the star of the show! We’ll thank you in our program!

Please contact Charlotte if you got something for us.






I was explaining why the play is called “Boy from Oz” to my (intelligent, beautiful, witty) daughter.. and I realized maybe you’d like to know, too.

Simplest: Oz is slang for Australia. That’s where Peter Allen was born and raised, in Tenterfield, Australia. There’s a fair bit of Aussie/Ozzie in the play.



Diego, Jocelyn, John as young Peter, his mom, and his dad. That’s Tenterfield in the background. His early life colored much of what came later (well, doesn’t it always?), and he wrote very affectionate songs about Australia.

Second, he went on to meet Judy Garland, star of “Wizard of Oz,” and travel over the rainbow to her world… and to marry her daughter, Liza Minnelli.


Caroline! without a Z plays Liza Minnelli, and nails it.

There you have it. Now. The play runs the next two weekends at AFD, and there’s a lot of buzz, and it’s starting to sell out. If you want to catch it while you can, get your tickets now!!


Thom Hardy as Peter Allen


Thom Hardy as Peter Allen, Janet Ferreri as Judy Garland

Opening night of Oz: So Wonderful!