“Akeelah and the Bee” will finally open at the Racine Theatre Guild
Akeelah lives and breathes words and has a gift for spelling. This passion is overshadowed by the daily realities of her life in a tough Chicago neighborhood. Despite her mother’s objections, she studies and prepares for the National Spelling Bee with a determined spirit. As the underdog, Akeelah’s spunk and tenacity teach us all a little something about triumphing over any obstacle.
RTG had planned to produce “Akeelah and the Bee” during their 82nd season. With less than two weeks until its opening, COVID-19 shut down the production in March 2020. Most of the original cast and crew were able to return for their roles for this new production two years later.
Based on the popular 2006 film with a screenplay by Doug Atchison starring Keke Palmer, Angela Bassett, and Laurence Fishburne, the play has been adapted to the stage by Cheryl L. West. Directed by Kära Ernst-Schalk, the cast features Saniah Carter as Akeelah, Kimberly McGee as Gail, Julian Mayfield as Reggie, Darius Russelle as Dr. Larabee, Diana Barber as Principal Welch, Rylee McGee as Georgia, Vanetta Powell as Batty Ruth, and Caroline E. Otto as Dylan. Additional cast members include Norgie Metzinger, Shavez DeLacy, Amina Jallow, Paolo Wood, Kyra Hagen, Winter Newell, AJ Garcia-Malacara, Pahoua Vang, Phil Lyden, Jennifer Arnold, and Megan Ferger.
Sponsored by SC Johnson, “Akeelah and the Bee” performances are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors (62+), and $13 for students (21 and under). Further savings are offered to groups of 12 or more.
Masks are recommended and encouraged at performances. Tickets can be purchased from RTG by calling (262) 633-4218, visiting www.racinetheatre.org, or stopping by the box office on weekdays from 12 to 6 p.m. and 90 minutes prior to each performance for tickets.