Your Putnam County Spelling Bee Returning Champ

He’s the 24th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Champ and he’s played by our newest apprentice class member Brandon Cayetano. You’ll have plenty of chances to meet Brandon in person over the course of his theatre apprenticeship this year but for now, here he is to introduce you to his character in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee—Chip Tolentino.

Hello Commonweal patrons! My name is Brandon Cayetano, and I’m a member of this year’s Commonweal Apprentice Class. I’m looking forward to spending a year both at the theatre and in the wonderful town of Lanesboro. I’m kicking off my season here with a role in the second show of the 30th Season, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as Chip Tolentino! I’ve been a fan of the show for a long time, and Chip has been a dream role of mine, so it’s been surreal bringing this character to life. I was always drawn to Chip’s character because of his drive to win. He won last year’s Spelling Bee, and he’s back to reclaim the title of Spelling Champ! Once I knew I was going to play Chip, I delved into his backstory to find out what motivates and drives him. Here is a little bit of what I discovered.

Brandon Cayetano in rehearsal for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as Chip Tolentino

Brandon in rehearsal to create Chip Tolentino

During rehearsals, the director (Alan Bailey) and I found that the action of the play is sort of a redemption story for Chip. As last year’s winner, he’s already been to Nationals in Washington D.C, but he didn’t do as well as he would’ve liked. Chip has worked really hard to be where he is today and takes the Bee seriously, so when other kids seem to be able to get away with not working as hard, or don’t take things as seriously as him, you can see his blood boil. He’s the type of person who does things he knows he’s good at, so not doing well at Nationals really drove him to make his way back to D.C. this year. He’s athletic, he works hard at school, and you can just tell he wants to make it to a good college, so he has a lot riding on this competition. Not only is it his second chance to do well at the National Spelling Bee, but if he does well at Nationals, that’s his ticket to that good college! Chip exudes confidence in the Bee, but some may interpret it as cockiness. Chip is kind of like a poker player in that he doesn’t want the other kids in the bee to know what he’s thinking but his head is always in the game.

Will Chip win for the second year in a row and reclaim the championship? I guess you’ll have to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee live onstage at the Commonweal to find out!

A ticket to one of the professional, live theatre offerings at the Commonweal is only one of the many great things to do Lanesboro, MN. What’s another? How about biking or hiking along some, or all, of the 60-mile Root River State Bike Trail. The paved trail veers directly through downtown Lanesboro and is a great way to spend the day before heading to the theatre for the evening.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opens this Saturday, May 12 with a gala celebration with the entire cast and Commonweal company following the performance. You can make a reservation and purchase your ticket right here on this website by visiting the full season performance calendar.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the theatre! — Jeremy

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