Musical, children’s play on tap this weekend

Peyton Letko song tugs at your heart

By Jim Nowlan
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Talented Stark County High grad Peyton Letko tears at the heart as she sings “I Love You” this weekend (July 6-7-8) in the musical The 23rd Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Several Stark County students and adults are featured on the double-bill of the musical and a rollicking children’s play, Junie B. Jones Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (P.S. So Does May).

The curtain will open on these shows July 6 and 7 in the Kewanee High School Peterson Auditorium. Junie B will play first at 5:30 p.m., followed by The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at 7:30.

On Sunday, July 8, Junie B will take the stage at noon, followed by The 25th Annual at 2 o’clock.

Pictured from left are: Payton Letko, Thomas McElwee, Seth Draminski, Dalton Sander, all from Stark County and who will be performing in the Kewanne Community Players production this weekend.

Tickets for both shows will be sold at the door, at $6 for one show, or $10 for both. Find more information at

Joining Peyton in the cast of the musical are Stark County favorites Thomas McElwee, Chris King, Seth Draminski and Dalton Sander.

This summer’s feature musical is the story of six delightfully bizarre middle schoolers who compete in a high-level spelling bee to determine who goes to nationals. It blends gut-busting laughter with truly heartfelt moments in a must-see interactive performance. This performance does contain some adult language.

Jack and Maeve Colgan and Kelsey Scott are locals in the cast of the children’s play.

Mitch Mahoney (played by Stark County native Chris King) sings a prayer of comfort to an audience member.

Publicity director Grace Klooster says the “spelling bee” musical “is one of the only productions I know where the jokes keep me laughing throughout.”

Klooster says the children’s play is a taste of Christmas in July. Kids under the age of 15 from Henry-Stark County area come together to bring a hilarious tale of holiday spirit to the stage.

Pictured are members of the Kewanee Community Players cast as they all struggle for control of the microphone.

After starring in a Stark County High spring musical, Peyton Letko is now a junior at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, where she is majoring in international studies.

Indeed, Peyton was studying in Japan this past year, so she sent in an audition tape from that faraway country to win the lead role of Olive Ovstrovsky in the musical.

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