See how the production team prepared for upcoming Grand Valley Opera Theatre performance

On stage: 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

The next show from Grand Valley Opera Theatre is "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," a musical comedy that follows a fictional spelling bee at a middle school.

The production runs from February 23-26 with both evening and matinee shows at the Louis Armstrong Theatre in the Haas Centre for Performing Arts. Tickets are on sale now.

Pauls Macs is directing the show, which includes a 12-person cast, an orchestra and a production team. Part of that production team includes people designing costumes and the set. That crew has been working behind the scenes to help create the scenes that audiences will enjoy.

Bridgett Vanderhoof, publicity and recruiting coordinator for the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance and costume/props designer for the show, said designing costumes has been gratifying, especially since the production team and cast enjoy each other's company.

"Many of the characters are middle-schoolers being played by college students, so it’s been really fun creating playful costumes that enhance their interpretations of these characters," Vanderhoof said. "It’s always a joy to see how much your designs contribute to the overall production value and enhance the student experience.

These images offer a glimpse of the work Vanderhoof and other members of the production team have been doing to ensure the cast is presented in the best way possible on stage.

Creating costumes

Two people smile while one adjusts the collar of another.
A person stands still while another adjusts clothing along their back.
Bridgett Vanderhoof works with Sadie Essex, who plays Marcy Park in the show, helping to adjust the costume.
A person is sewing material on a sewing machine.
A person checks the lapel of a jacket that is fitted on a stand.
Cat O’Callaghan, Costume Shop coordinator, works on a custom fit for the cast members.

Setting the scene

One person drills into a wall while another person holds the piece being drilled in place.
A person pushes a board through some tabletop equipment.
At left: Happy Battjes, left, and Nadia Rana work on some of the scenery used in the production. At right, Battjes does some detail work. Both students work in the Scene Shop.
Two people place a large decorated board on a table with another person in the background.
Chris Mahlmann, scenic designer, works in the background as work is being done on scenery.
Two people are on one side and one person is on the other side of a wall that is being constructed.
Russ Staples, Scene Shop coordinator, works with Happy Battjes and Nadia Rana, students who work in the Scene Shop.
Boards are in place to form the outline of walls as they sit on stage.


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