A vision to bring musical performances back to Henryetta will be accomplished this weekend.
The HHS Performing Arts Student Association will be holding the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. The two act musical is a completely student-led performance with HHS alum Liz Bealko as the director.
Students raised the money to purchase the rights to the musical through a series of bake and yard sales and a Christmas cabaret performance.
They held auditions to fill up the nine-member cast and six stage hand slots. Rehearsals started in March and the students have spent hours each evening perfecting their roles.
The play centers around a group of sixth graders at a spelling bee. Several musical numbers along with individual performances tell the story of each contestant. It originally was performed in 2004 and has received a number of awards including a Tony.
Cast members include: Dalton Key, Zach Thomas, Dakota McKay, Jordan Knox, Brianna Foster, Taylor Graffman, Emma Sontag, MaKayla Baxter and Bo Adams.
Bealko, who is directing the musical, is the daughter of Pam and Andy Bealko. She graduated from Henryetta high school and has since made the theater her life’s work.
While at HHS, she appeared in both Beauty and the Beast and Guys and Dolls performances.
Bealko pointed out Henryetta high school has a great facility to hold these kinds of musicals. “In the 1970s, there were as many as 13 shows in one year.”
She praised the students for their work and dedication. “They show up after sporting events and we rehearse three or four hours each evening. You have students who are starving for this. They haven’t done it since sixth grade.”
She has hopes that this will start the interest in the arts at the school and result in a facelift at the auditorium. “This is something that was made for our community, our school.”