Ninety Years of The Scripps National Spelling Bee

Celebrating 90 Years of Spelling Mastery with The Scripps

The Spelling Bee librettoRehearsals have begun for the second production of Season 30 at the Commonweal, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and you are in for a treat when this rousing musical opens on May 12. Local, regional and national spelling bees are quite popular events and have been around for years. In fact, The Scripps (formerly Scripps Howard) National Spelling Bee originated in 1925. It has been held continuously since then, except for war years, making The Bee 90 years old this year. We can find no better way to honor The Scripps National Bee than by staging a five-month run of a spelling bee of our own.

I’m sure you’ve heard of our national spelling bee, but did you know?

  • In 1946, The Bee is first broadcast on television on NBC.
  • After several hours of head-to-head spelling, Colquitt Dean and Deanna Reynard are named first-ever “co-champions” in 1950.
  • In 1975, Hugh Tosteson of Puerto Rico becomes first spelling bee champion from outside the 50 states.
  • The Bee begins a broadcast partnership with ESPN in 1994.
  • In 1999, the documentary Spellbound films the national bee.
  • In 2002, a written test is implemented for the first time.
  • And last year, Edith Fuller became the youngest person ever to qualify for the finals. She was five years old.

There is so much to learn about The Scripps National Spelling Bee and you can do just that by visiting While there, you can read more history, find out about each of the national finalists and take a test of your own spelling vocabulary skills. I took the test and my score was just under the wire for qualification…26 out of 27!

The Page to Stage event for Spelling BeeThere is also so much more to learn about The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and for that, all you need to do is watch this space all this month. Five preview performances begin May 4th and the gala opening night is May 12th.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the theatre!—Jeremy

Celebrating 30 years of Live Professional Theatre for Rochester MN & Surrounding Communities

Commonweal Featured in 507 Magazine

Live Professional Theatre for Rochester MN and surrounding communities

A big thank you to Rochester Minnesota’s “507 Magazine” for this wonderful feature!

Click here to view full article.

The Commonweal Theatre Company has been proudly presenting Award-Winning, Professional Live Theatre for Rochester, MN, La Crosse WI, Decorah, IA and all of the many towns in between for the past 29 years! We are so excited to celebrate our 30th Season this year and truly can not wait to share it with you.

Our opening celebration is this coming weekend, April 6-8, 2018.

Star and Pearls

So, if you’re looking things to do this weekend we’d love it if you’d join us for this spectacular celebration.

Professional Live Theatre — created just for YOU!



Women In Stem: On the Shoulders of Giants

Henrietta Leavitt, along with her team of female scientists profiled in Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson, made amazing discoveries about the universe and our place in it. If you’ve never heard of Henrietta, you are not alone. You’ve probably never heard of Carolyn Porco either but her career and accomplishments in the world of astronomy are no less groundbreaking than those of Ms. Leavitt and her colleagues. Last year, the Cassini spacecraft burned up in the atmosphere of Saturn after 20 years in space. Dr. Porco was the team leader of Cassini Imaging. This edition of Drama Unfolds provides an introduction to Carolyn Porco and her career of looking at the “promised land beyond the sun.”


One of the Top 25 US Women in Stem

Carolyn Porco

September 15, 2017 — The end is now upon us. Within hours of the posting of this entry, Cassini will burn up in the atmosphere of Saturn … a kiloton explosion spread out against the sky in a meteoric display of light and fire, a dazzling flash to signal the dying essence of a lone emissary from another world. As if the myths of old had foretold the future, the great patriarch will consume his child. At that point, that golden machine, so dutiful and strong, will enter the realm of history, and the toils and triumphs of this long march will be done.

For those of us appointed long ago to embark on this journey, it has been a taxing 3 decades, requiring a level of dedication that I could not have predicted, and breathless times when we sprinted for the duration of a marathon. But in return, we were blessed to spend our lives working and playing in that promised land beyond the Sun.

My imaging team members and I were especially blessed to serve as the documentarians of this historic epoch and return a stirring visual record of our travels around Saturn and the glories we found there. This is our gift to the citizens of planet Earth. So, it is with both wistful, sentimental reflection and a boundless sense of pride, in a commitment met and a job well done, that I now turn to face this looming, abrupt finality. It is doubtful we will soon see a mission as richly suited as Cassini return to this ringed world and shoulder a task as colossal as we have borne over the last 27 years. 

To have served on this mission has been to live the rewarding life of an explorer of our time, a surveyor of distant worlds. We wrote our names across the sky. We could not have asked for more. I sign off now, grateful for knowing that Cassini’s legacy, and ours, will include our mutual roles as authors of a tale that humanity will tell for a very long time to come. — reprinted from, the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations.

Dr. Porco was the Imaging Team Leader on the Nasa/Esa/Asi Cassini mission. She was also instrumental in helping frame the Earth for its famous Pale Blue Dot portrait by Voyager. You can follow Dr. Porco on Twitter and read more about her work and that of her imaging team on the CICLOPS website.
Were it not for Henrietta Leavitt, there may be no Carolyn Porco. There is no better way to learn more about Henrietta Leavitt than by seeing the Commonweal version of Silent Sky opening Saturday, April 7. For more information, visit the show page on this website.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the theatre — Jeremy