Daniel Germani remembers his last brush with a spelling bee, in seventh grade.
“I got out on a French word related to painting, ‘collage,’” he said. “I forgot the ‘e’ on the end.”
Then again, he didn’t have a magic foot to help him out, like William Barfee does.
<object id=”flashObj” width=”486″ height=”412″ classid=”clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0″><param name=”movie” value=”http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9/48345545001?isVid=1″ /><param name=”bgcolor” value=”#FFFFFF” /><param name=”flashVars” value=”omnitureAccountID=gpaper183,gntbcstglobal&pageContentCategory=Life&Leisure&pageContentSubcategory=ENTERTAINMENT080201&marketName=Westchester, Rockland, Putnam:LoHud&revSciSeg=&revSciZip=07675&revSciAge=1963&revSciGender=male&division=newspaper&SSTSCode=lifestyle/index.htm&videoId=78144762001&playerID=48345545001&domain=embed&dynamicStreaming=true” /><param name=”base” value=”http://admin.brightcove.com” /><param name=”seamlesstabbing” value=”false” /><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /><param name=”swLiveConnect” value=”true” /><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” /><embed src=”http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9/48345545001?isVid=1″ bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” flashVars=”omnitureAccountID=gpaper183,gntbcstglobal&pageContentCategory=Life&Leisure&pageContentSubcategory=ENTERTAINMENT080201&marketName=Westchester, Rockland, Putnam:LoHud&revSciSeg=&revSciZip=07675&revSciAge=1963&revSciGender=male&division=newspaper&SSTSCode=lifestyle/index.htm&videoId=78144762001&playerID=48345545001&domain=embed&dynamicStreaming=true” base=”http://admin.brightcove.com” name=”flashObj” width=”486″ height=”412″ seamlesstabbing=”false” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowFullScreen=”true” swLiveConnect=”true” allowScriptAccess=”always” pluginspage=”http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash”></embed></object>Germani plays Barfee — the spelling-whiz whose name is pronounced bar-FAY — in Rye High School’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” on stage this weekend at the school on Parsons Street.
“Spelling Bee” — which earned 2005 Tony awards for Dan Fogler (as Barfee) and for the book by Suffern’s Rachel Sheinkin — is Rye’s second musical of the spring, following March’s equally long-titled “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
This production features mostly sophomores, two freshmen, several teachers and volunteers from the audience who will be invited to spell on the stage.
Good luck going against Barfee, a cutthroat competitor who faces each quizzed word with his right foot poised to trace the answers on the floor.
“It’s a blast to play, a guy with a funny voice who can dance and sing,” he said.
Other bee kids scrawl the words on their wrists or lisp their answers.
These social misfits all seem to find a home at the bee, the highlight of their year, an event for which they’ve trained mightily.
Ariella Reidenberg plays Olive Ostrovsky, a girl neglected by her too-busy mom and her angry dad.
“She has to kind of live on her own,” Reidenberg said, “and she always seems to come in second place. She’s hoping that spelling will be the one thing she’s good at.”
Emily Zona plays Logaine Swartzandgrubenierre, the contest’s youngest competitor, a 10-year-old girl with “a lisp and two gay dads.”
“She’s funny and quirky, but she’s hard and very trained,” said Zona, a 16-year-old sophomore.
It seems everyone has issues in this spelling bee, even the people reading the words to the competitors.
Cameron Kinker, a sophomore, plays Vice Principal Douglas Panch, the man reading the words and definitions. His character can barely keep it together.
Lizzy Emanuel, a freshman, plays Marcy Park. She played Olive in a production of “Spelling Bee” at Broadway Training in Hastings and said she likes trying on a different role.
“They all have things that they do differently and they all have reasons they need to win,” she said. “Marcy is good at everything.”
Reidenberg said she’s not a great speller.
“I’m dyslexic,” she said with a laugh.
What: “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”
Where: Rye High School, 2 Parsons St., Rye.
When: 7:30 p.m. April 22; 8 p.m. April 23 and 24.
Tickets: $10; $5 students; seniors free.
With: Scott O’Brien, Ariella Reidenberg, Daniel Germani, Emily Zona, Lizzy Emanuel, Cameron Kinker, Luiza Almeida, Chet Sternlict, Rob Keller, Leo Neuringer. And teachers Michael Limone, Bob Stee, Sara Charles, Peter Green, Nicole Riti, Dan Brown