cast of the Putnam National Spelling Bee production by Nicolet Live

Nicolet Players Present the Award-winning Musical Comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Nov. 4-6, 10-13


Rehearsals are in full swing for the Nicolet Players upcoming production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the community theater troupe’s first musical comedy in years. 

Performances are scheduled for Nov. 4 to 6 and 10 to 13 in the Nicolet College Theatre. 

The musical by William Finn, Rachel Shenkin, and Rebecca Feldman won both the Tony Award and Drama Desk Awards for Best Book of a Musical. 

Audiences should note that beer, wine, and concessions will be available for purchase for the evening shows and complimentary cookies and coffee will be provided during the Sunday matinees.  

Actors from across the Northwoods are joining forces for the production, with some returning to the stage after several years away, and others are stepping into leading roles for the first time directly out of high school. The cast includes current and former Nicolet College students as well as a current staff member, Angelo Guercio, who is the enrollment services specialist in the Welcome Center on campus. Guercio plays vice principal Douglas Panch. 

"Working as a cast member on the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has been a great experience. I have not previously worked with anyone else in the cast or crew and we are quickly becoming friends. It's a great atmosphere and the material definitely helps,” Guercio shared. 

“We have had to stop our rehearsals many times for our own moments of laughter and applause, so I am excited to see how the audience reacts. I remember saying the other night that I wish I could be in the audience for this one.” 

Nicolet College Business Management student Adrian Shrigley plays Leaf Coneybear. "It's been really fun to work on a show with others who are passionate about putting on a good show,” he said. “I'm excited to perform it for everyone, and audiences can only expect the unexpected. Lots of satirical humor, music, and a few heartfelt moments with incredibly unique characters." 

Most of the cast portray contestants in a middle school spelling bee. What makes this show different than most musicals is that each night, a handful of audience members are selected to compete onstage in the spelling bee.  

“I absolutely adore musicals,” said Nicolet Players Artistic Producer K. Woodzick, who serves as the director, musical director and choreographer for the production. “What drew me to this show was that it changes every night, and it provides actors the opportunity to really dig into these quirky characters. And there’s lots of laughter. The rehearsal room is warm and filled with the energy of this amazing ensemble. They are so diligent and hilarious, which is a delightful combination for a director.”  

Scenic, sound and lighting design for the show are all by Nicolet College Theatre and Event Services Manager Mike Effinger. The production stage manager is Clair Kaminski, a former Nicolet student and recent Northern Michigan University graduate in Technical Theatre with a concentration in Stage Management. Prop design is by Lynn Grube. Oliver Swierczynski serves as the assistant musical director and additional choreography is provided by Ashley Gardner. Costumes are by Jamie Marshall. 

All Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances will start at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. The show contains some profanity and is recommended for audiences age 10 and up. Tickets are $10 general public, $8 for students and can be purchased online at

In the photo above: Cast for the upcoming production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee include first row, left to right, Ashley Gardner, St. Germain, Adrian Shrigley, Tomahawk, and Gwen Swierczynski, Rhinelander; back row, left to right, Karina Orlowski, Rhinelander, Merchelle Kolasa, Rhinelander, Jake Nitzel, Rhinelander, Claire Kafka Duda, Hazelhurst, Oliver Swierczynski, Rhinelander, and Angelo Guercio, Sugar Camp. Ticket can be ordered online at