This year, the New Era Dinner Theatre will hosting their 25th annual production. The New Era show is produced by Carolyn Cole and directed by Bill Turner and Tracy Pelzer-Timm, with musical direction provided by Anita Zahniser.

Auditions for the show were held in March and they have putting the show together since then. The last few weeks have consisted of perfecting the show and getting it ready for a live audience.

Director Turner describes the story: “The show tells the story of an eclectic group of youngsters who vie for the spelling championship of Putnam County. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of increasingly obscure words, hoping to never hear the soul-crushing ‘ding’ of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Only one speller can win, but at least the losers get a juice box.”

The Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is a delightful experience.

Show dates are Friday, June 1; Saturday, June 2; Friday, June 8; and Saturday, June 9 in the New Era Community Building at 3455 New Era Road in Rural Muscatine, next to Wildcat Den State Park. Dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. Reservations are required for all performances.

The cast features Rob Minder as Vice Principal Douglas Panch, Courtney Gevaert as Mistress of Ceremonies Rona Lisa Peretti, Jenni Colbert as Comfort Counsellor Midge Mahoney, Adam Turner as Chip Tolentino, McKenzie Lofgren as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere, Nick Thoren as Leaf Coneybear, Antonio Martinez as William Barfee, Nikki Kurz as Marcy Park, and Kari Thoren as Olive Ostrovsky.

“This is a really fun show, one of my favorites I’ve ever been in. The cast is terrific, the music is fun and catchy, and the show is hilarious and light-hearted with the perfect amount of tugging on the heart strings,” says performer Kari Thoren.

This year’s dinner menu will include tossed salad, ham balls, parsley potatoes, New Era green beans, dinner roll, dessert, and beverage. The dining room, theater, and restrooms at New Era are air-conditioned and

handicap accessible.

Proceeds will benefit Lutheran World Relief, MCSA Domestic Abuse Shelter,
and New Era Lutheran Church. Tickets for the dinner and show are $25 for adults and $15 for children grades K-12. They can be ordered by calling Joan Dietrich at (563) 299-4710 or Nancy Henke at (563) 263-0881. Tickets may also be ordered by mail from Joan Dietrich, 2854 Rolling Meadow Lane, Muscatine, IA 52761.