|Jonathon Stecevic (helmeted, center) as Leaf Coneybear with the youth cast of Spelling Bee|
PHOTO courtesy of Brigid Blaschak
Of all the characters in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, I find myself rooting for Leaf Coneybear the most. While all six students are quirky and each has his or her own challenges to overcome, Leaf is the squarest peg of them all. Jonathon Stecevic plays Leaf in the youth cast of the Farmington Players production of Spelling Bee. Jonathon describes Leaf Coneybear as “a home-schooled speller in Putnam County. He has ADHD and is easily distracted. His family thinks he is dumb. He is very sensitive and gentle and loves animals. He makes his own clothes (perhaps his big family can't afford to buy him clothes) and he is looked down upon by his family.”
Unlike Leaf, Jonathon’s family is very supportive, but there are some comparisons that ring true. Jonathon said, “I really identify with Leaf Coneybear. I have a little bit of ADHD and really love animals. I also understand what it's like to sometimes not fit in.” Leaf is the biggest underdog in the Bee as all other students won their school tournaments to get there. Though he is the least competitive speller, he has a knack of rising to the occasion and exceeding others’ low expectations for him. Jonathon “wanted to be in this show because I love the music. I also love the strong youth characters that showcase what kids in junior high are experiencing. I think audiences will love this show because it is funny and fast moving, but also addresses topics that other shows don't, like problems kids experience growing up and issues with parents.”
Jonathon (16) also enjoys working with the adult cast, which he finds “fun and very productive. It's interesting to see the role from an adult's perspective.” He finds Lloyd Platis (age 20) – the "adult" Leaf – “very nice and easy to work with.” Jonathon began acting when he was six years old and hopes to pursue musical theater in college. He lives in Farmington Hills and is a junior at Aim High School.
The Farmington Players production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is proudly sponsored by Mall, Malisow & Cooney, PC. Four audience members (including some local celebrities) will be selected as spellers at each performance. The show includes 12 performances (the three Saturday matinees feature 12-to-16 year-old spellers along with the regular adult cast.) from December 4 – 20. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by contacting the Barn box office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-553-2955.