Detour Company Theatre is bringing double the fun to Scottsdale with its production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Once Upon a Mattress” Friday through Sunday, June 10–12, at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St.
Detour Company Theatre provides theater training and performance experiences for adults with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities, providing them authentic opportunities to develop artistry, demonstrate courage and collaboration, experience joy and participate in the sharing of musical theater with the entire community, according to a press release.
“Detour has made me the person I am today. It’s self-advocacy in a single bush,” “Once Upon A Mattress” actor Christine Armstrong said. “Detour makes friendships and memories that last a lifetime and changes your perspective on things — your perspective on who we are as people and our ability to try new and challenging things.”
In the first of these two plays, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” follows an eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While discussing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of words, hoping to never hear that ding of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.
“[Detour’s production of] ‘Spelling Bee’ helps us express our deepest emotions, and Detour helps us understand more about acceptance and understanding each other,” “The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee” actor Hailey Simon said. “[Audiences] will leave feeling inspired and wanting to know more about us and wanting to get involved.”
Following “The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee” will be “Once Upon a Mattress,” a Tony-nominated musical comedy adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “Princess and the Pea.” Princesses come from far and wide to win the hand of Prince Dauntless, but none could pass the impossible tests given by the Queen until Winnifred the Woebegone makes her appearance.
LaRiche Lamar, Detour’s artistic director, said that the actors are beyond excited to present two shows instead of their usual one show every January and June.
“These shows are not only packed with laughs and great music, they explore what it means to define and accept oneself,” Lamar said. “Like our artists, these dynamic characters are up against some pretty harsh assumptions, and they use talent, wit and pure confidence to fight for the right to be themselves.”
Detour Company Theatre stages its productions in June and January of each year at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, where Detour is a resident company. Detour creates a vital space for honing creativity, building community and shaping social progress. Detour is committed to elevating the voices of their artists by making theater and drama truly accessible for a community that is severely underrepresented in the visual and performing arts, the press release stated.
“Detour is going to be twice the fun this summer with their double feature show,” Natalie Marsh, director of Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation, said. “Bring the family to see ‘Once Upon a Mattress,’ then you can return in the evening to see ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.’ These shows are sure to be full of singing, dancing and laughing.’”
Detour will have two showings of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” on Friday, June 10, and Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m. “Once Upon a Mattress” has two showings on Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12 at 3 p.m. Admission is free for all productions, but donations are accepted. RSVP at ScottsdaleArtsLearning.org/events.
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