Jenny Barnhart will play the role of Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre in Kellogg Community College’s spring production of the comedic musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which will run this Friday through Sunday, March 15-17, and Friday through Sunday, March 22-24, in the Binda Theatre on KCC’s North Avenue campus.
Below, Barnhart, a 33-year-old Flint native who boasts a degree in theatre and history from the University of Michigan, discusses her role in “Spelling Bee” in the third of our interviews with the cast, which we’re rolling out in the days leading up to opening night.
The KCC Daily: Tell us about your role. What kind of a person is she and in what ways is she different or similar to yourself?
Jenny Barnhart: Logainne is a 10-year-old girl who speaks with a lisp. She is being raised by her two dads and she feels she needs to win the spelling bee so they will be proud of her. She is involved heavily in her school politics and gay rights. But there are some times that she really wishes she could fit in and just be a kid. I know what it’s like to want to do the best you can so your parents will be proud; I’m still worried I’ll let my mom down when I’m performing even though she past away six years ago. Other than that Logainne and I are very different. I could care less about politics and I’m dyslexic so my spelling is really bad.
KCC: What are some of the roles you’ve played in the past and how is your current role different or similar? Are there aspects of this role that are particularly challenging as compared to your previous roles?
JB: I have been acting since I was 9, so I’ve played many different characters, including Sister Mary Hubert in “Nunsense,” Shirley in “Fifth of July,” and Ambrose Houston in Marshall’s “Haunted Reflections” this pass Halloween. I prefer to have the character roles in shows over the straight roles, and Logainne is definitely a character. The only aspect of this role that’s particularly challenging is trying to keep my lisp going while I’m singing and trying to make sure I can be understood.
KCC: What about this performing in this role are you particularly excited or nervous about?
JB: I’m really excited about doing this show because this is the first show I’ve done in eight years and I’m glad to be back on the stage, but I’m really nervous about having to spell.
KCC: Who or what influences or motivates you in this role? In your acting in general?
JB: My mom was always the one to motivate me to be on stage. It showed me that there was something I could do and do well.
KCC: What should people know before seeing this play? What can people do before seeing this play that you feel might enhance their experience?
JB: This is a very funny show and has a lot of quick jokes, so pay attention! If they want to enhance their experience, sign up to be part of the bee when they get to the theater. Yes, we will be recruiting audience members to be apart of the show.
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will play Friday through Sunday, March 15-17, and Friday through Sunday, March 22-24, in the Binda Theatre on KCC’s North Avenue campus. Friday and Saturday shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows will begin at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens and $10 for members of the general public. They will be available at the door or can be reserved by calling 269-965-4154.
Click here for more interviews with cast members from KCC Theater productions from posts on this blog. For more information about the Theater Program at Kellogg Community College, visit www.kellogg.edu/performart/theatre/index.html.