Former Turlock High School thespians are returning to the stage of their alma mater to raise scholarship funds for current drama students.
The alumni from the class of 2013 through the class of 2019 are staging a special production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” with the goal of giving five THS drama or speech students $1,000 in scholarships each, for a total of $5,000.
The idea of staging an alumni show was the brainchild of Hector Molina (class of 2018) and Kendall Trevethan (class of 2017) and they went to THS drama and speech instructor Michele VanNieuwenhuyzen with the idea.
“I said I would if every person that I wanted in each role would agree to do it,” said VanNieuwenhuyzen, who is taking on the role of producer for this production. “The plan was made and after several text messages everyone agreed. We had a complete cast and tech crew including director, musical director, choreographer and all running crew made up of alumni from the graduating classes of 2013-2019. Along the way we had a few scheduling issues and had to substitute a couple of people but for the most part, all of the original alumni who agreed will be seen in these performances.”
For VanNieuwenhuyzen this production was a return to her roots, both with the casting and the show itself.
“This show was the first musical I ever directed at THS and the director, Teddy Snyder, was a freshman cast in the first show I directed at THS, so we really are coming full circle,” VanNieuwenhuyzen said.
The musical comedy is about six unconventional students competing in a spelling bee and the idiosyncratic adults overseeing the contest. The THS alumni show features a cast of 11, and a total of 15 alumni are involved.
“I’ve taken a complete back seat for the alumni to put on the show,” said VanNieuwenhuyzen. “It’s awesome seeing them come together to make the big decisions about and put it all together.”
The alumni group also has been able to get donations from the community and will be holding an opportunity drawing.
The show will be staged at the Turlock High School Performing Arts Building at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15 and will be available at the door. Parental guidance is suggested for the show for language, coming of age situations and adult humor.