Show and cast reveal for “Spelling Bee”
Anderson, South Carolina’s 24 Hour Musical took the stage July 11 with a production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” to benefit the Cancer Association of Anderson. Featuring a 12-person cast and an extensive crew of Upstate theatre artists and volunteers, the show held two sold-out performances at Anderson University’s Belk Theatre.
The full-scale, Broadway-style musical was put together in only 24 hours. Actors submitted audition videos throughout May and June. The creative team notified those who were cast, but the title of the 2015 show remained a secret until just 24 hours before the event. After a Kick Off Party and the show reveal, the team of nearly 50 volunteers immediately began an all-night work session, memorizing lines, staging, building sets, making costumes, and locating props for the show. Exactly 24 hours later, the show opened to a packed house.
Admission was free, with donations accepted. In total, the production raised $2,346.65 for the Cancer Association of Anderson.
Why take on the challenge of producing an entire Broadway-style musical in only 24 hours? “We believe everyone should have the opportunity to use their skills and talents to make a difference”, says Noah Taylor, co-founder and artistic director of 24 Hour Musical. “The unique event offers a challenge for local artists and an opportunity to use their passion to positively impact the community.”
The Cancer Association of Anderson is funded entirely by donations from the public, grants, and funds raised by events. The CAA is the only local cancer charity in Anderson County. Its mission is to help reduce the burden of cancer on Anderson County residents by providing treatment-related financial assistance, information and referral and emotional support. In 2014, the Cancer Association opened new case files for 323 new patients and an additional 12 who had been in remission were moved back to active status. The staff served an average of 152 different patients per month. CAA provided free wigs and hats to women losing their hair during treatment, hosted two free support groups and operated two sessions of a six-week Survivor School attended by approximately 15 female patients who had completed treatment. CAA also sent 24 patients through AnMed Health’s Oncology Rehabilitation program of exercise and education for survivors.
“Spelling Bee” marks 24 Hour Musical’s second annual production. In 2014, the inaugural production, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” raised more than $1,500 for the Anderson Free Clinic. Taylor and team plan to continue the annual event, benefiting a different charity partner each year. The organization also offered other arts events in the past year, including a workshop with Broadway actress Bailey Hanks and Anderson’s recent Shakespeare in the Park production.
Via: 24 Hour Musical; photos by Casey Bates