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Empress Theatre Society presents offbeat comedy

Six nerdy teenagers compete for a slot at the National Spelling Bee in the hit musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, at Fort Macleod’s Empress Theatre this spring.
This heartwarming, fast-paced, Tony Award-winning comedy is the Empress Theatre Society’s sixth annual musical theatre production, and takes the stage May 31, June 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
The play’s quirky collection of anti-heroes, each with their own hilarious personalities, sing stories about their hopes, their dreams, and their angst, ultimately learning that losing doesn’t make you a loser.
Putnam is a departure from the society’s 2017 production, the classic musical, Annie.
“The Empress aims to bring a variety of shows to the community, alternating between the popular, theatrical standards, and shows that are perhaps less well-known outside of the industry,” director Laura Glover said. “This show appealed because of its very funny script, and its cast of oddball, school-age students played by adults.”
The play offers a unique experience, as three or four audience members are asked to participate in each show as fellow spelling bee competitors.
“This typically makes for some unexpected comedic moments,” Glover said.
This year’s Empress cast is drawn from Fort Macleod, Lethbridge and Claresholm.
“Our members range from 16 to 60,” Glover said. “They are students, ranchers and town councillors. All of them are experienced and talented performers, and their characters each have wonderful eureka moments where they resolve something personal by the end of the show.”
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was nominated for six Tony Awards in 2005, and won two, including Best Book of a Musical.
The annual musical production is a fund-raiser for the Empress, and this year’s is a family-friendly show.
Performances begin at 7 p.m., with a matinee performance on Saturday, June 2 at 1 p.m.

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