The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

While we are on the topic of dress rehearsals. Here are a few shots from the Spelling Bee. Gabbie Bird who produces the play contacted me a few months back. Fast forward to this evening, and I was shooting parts of their dress rehearsal. Due to time constraints it was not the full play, but we got a few nice shots. If you are curious read The Cambridge Student’s review of the show.

The judges Tris Hobson and Sarah Mercer. While the tech people were busy sorting out the sound I asked Will and Sarah to pose for a few shots. With good stage lighting like this there is not much need for post processing. I only did a bit of sharpening and minor curves adjustment.
Yasmin Djoudi Freeman, Will Popplewell and Katie Heath-Whyte. There are many ways to pass the time while waiting, like taking a silly selfie without noticing the photographer in front of you. Here I originally framed the photo wider, but I decided to crop it in to make the facial expression bigger.
There were a few different variations on this photo, but it is Sarah’s expression that makes the shot.
Constance Chapman in front of the microphone. Before the rehearsal started I took some quick close-ups of people while we waited. They were standing on stage, so to get up a bit higher I procured a chair. On my right was the orchestra, on my left a black wall, so I shot against the wall to get a cleaner background.
This photo is a composite shot of two pictures, one where I focused on Yasmine’s head and the other where I focused on the Bible.
Gabbie Bird doing some singing, or so it looks. In reality she is pretending to be an audience member participating in the spelling competition and losing. The cast is just about to escort her off stage.


“I can speak six languages.” I would have liked to see some of the people in the background better, or completely removed, but did not have the time to photoshop them out.
In this shot the microphone stand was covering part of the woman to the left, so I had to clone stamp and content-aware fill it away and reconstruct part of the hand that had been covered.
There is a really cool slow motion scene when all sorts of crazy things happen on stage.
Lily Faith Lindon and Constance Chapman in the foreground during the party scene.

The Spelling Bee is playing at the ADC Theatre 15-18 October 2014. Check it out!

– Johannes

Reviews: The Cambridge Student (10/10), Varsity (4/5), The Tab

Rona Lisa Peretti – Sarah Mercer
Vice Principal Douglas Panch – Tris Hobson
Madge Mahoney – Lily Lindon
Olive Ostrovsky – Katie Heath-Whyte
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre – Constance Chapman
Marcy Park – Yasmin Freeman
Chip Tolentino – Ryan Rodrigues
Leaf Coneybear – Will Popplewell
William Barfee – Charlie Houseago
Olive’s Dad – Orlando Gibbs

Keys 1 – Stephen Gage
Percussion – Jacob Cunningham
Reed – Sarah Driver
Keys 2 – Chris Gemmell
Triangle – Orlando Gibbs
Cello – Rachel Kay

Production Team
Director – John King
Producer – Gabbie Bird
Musical Director – Stephen Gage
Assistant Director – Marthe de Ferrer
Stage Manager – Ploy Kingchatchaval
Publicity Design – Craig Slade
Choreographer – Alys Williams
Associate Director – Hazel Lawrence
Deputy Stage Manager – Wai-Wai Ng
Assistant Stage Manager – Lizzie Hibbert, Romilly Beddow
Costume Designer – Danni White
Production Assistant – Joseph Dutton
Sound Designer – Jacob Baldwin
Photographer – Johannes Hjorth

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