Menlo News April 22, 2022

Menlo Drama’s “Spelling Bee” Shortlisted for Rita Moreno Award

Menlo Drama’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was nominated for a Rita Moreno Award for Best Overall Production.
The cast of Menlo's 2021 production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. 

The Rita Moreno Awards are the premier competition recognizing outstanding achievement in high school musical theater in our Northern California region. Out of all the applications, five shows make the shortlist. The Overall Production award, for which Spelling Bee is nominated, recognizes exceptional achievement in the sets, costumes, and staging, thus acknowledging a high caliber of work by the entire corps of students and artistic staff. 

The awards will be presented on May 16 at 7:30 pm at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, with the entire cast of Spelling Bee invited to attend. The finalists will be judged based on a 15-minute compilation video of the show’s Menlo performances, as well as a live performance of a song (or songs) by cast members. 

Steven Minning shared the news with the cast and crew on April 22, writing, “This is a big deal! A warm C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S with much gratitude and appreciation to all of you for putting on such a fantastic show. How wonderful now that you’ve received this well-deserved recognition for your gits and your talents.”

Menlo Drama has won this award twice previously, for productions of A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine and The King and I, in 1996 and 1998, when the award was known as the American Musical Theater of San Jose Best High School Musical Award.