Working Together for a Bright Future

Cap 'n' Dagger Club puts on f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c performance of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C is defined in the dictionary as “extraordinarily good.” Used in a sentence, the Vineland High School Cap ‘n’ Dagger Club’s spring musical, one of the most anticipated events of the school year, made its fantastic debut on Thursday evening with the opening performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” 

The musical, which featured some surprise participants, had the crowd spelling along with the contestants throughout the night as the group was dramatically whittled down to the last few competitors. 

There are performances on Friday and Saturday nights for those who missed opening night. Both shows are at 7 p.m. There is also an understudy performance on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students, and $5 for VHS faculty. Tickets may be purchased at the door or at

The musical features an eclectic group of students who arrive at the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, each eager to win for very different reasons. Sweet and shy Olive brings only her best friend (the dictionary) with her to the bee; bold and hyperallergic speller William Barfee uses his “magic foot” to propel him to greatness; former champion Chip is struggling with his burgeoning puberty; easily distracted Leaf is unconvinced that he’s smart enough to be a challenger; overachiever Marcy is disappointed by her consistent success; and politically aware Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre only wants to impress her dads. Through song, each speller reveals their hopes, struggles, and passions as they make their way through the competition.

The Cap ‘n’ Dagger students each had a chance to shine during their performances. Avery Gay is the spelling-enthused Rona Lisa Peretti who, along with Anthony Gonzalez’s Vice Principal Douglas Panch, guides the audience through the trials and tribulations of the spelling bee, providing interesting windows into the other characters’ lives and increasing their vocabulary along the way. The ensemble cast is made up of Conor DiRocco as Chip Tolentino, Jason Holguin as Leaf Coneybear, Kelianne Burgess as Marcy Park, Nora Cleary as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, Abigail Burger as Olive Ostrovsky, and Marc Cadet as William Barfee. Emily Perez was also on hand as “comfort counselor” Mitch Mahoney, ready to provide the eliminated spellers with a hug and a juice box as they made their exits. Each student provides the necessary depth, comedy, and vocal prowess that allows their character to not only stick out from the crowd but seamlessly perform together as a group. 

Rounding out the cast are Iris Giocondo, Riley Gallagher, Judah Walters, Asia Martin, Kalee Gross, Sophia Torres, Gabrielle Loftin, Idalyn Santiago, Jaslynn Gonzalez, Thaili Nemelc, Adin Johnson, Christine Lam, Jaydene Ruiz, Matthew Garcillano, and Michaela Giuliani. 

The musical is directed by Abigail Gardner. Music director is Lori Cummines and choreographer is Tammy Hall. The stage manager is Rob Garcia, who also provided lighting design. Lighting operator is Infinity Pritchett, audio mixer is Alondra Fuentes Cruz, and sound playback operator is Madison Powers. Spot operators are Julian Bernard and Joseph Roig. Hair and makeup assistance is provided by Juliana Trongone. 

Click the following link for a gallery of photos from opening night: