Musical makes up for 18 months lost time

Co-Musical Director Cameron R. Tolbert, Director Amy Sando and Assistant Student Musical Director and actress Freddie Baker. Photos special to The R-C by Christi Tolbert

Co-Musical Director Cameron R. Tolbert, Director Amy Sando and Assistant Student Musical Director and actress Freddie Baker. Photos special to The R-C by Christi Tolbert


The stages at the Carson Valley Community Theatre and Douglas High School’s Drama Department have been empty for nearly 18 months, due to the Coronavirus restrictions. But the two performing arts organizations are teaming up to make up for the lost time in “The Putnam County’s 25th Annual Spelling Bee” musical March 18.

“We had no productions for over 18 months due to COVID-19 and a lack of income too,” said Carson Valley Community Theatre Secretary Diana Jones. “We have just started back up in the last nine months.”

Show Times

Opening Weekend 7:30 p.m. March 18 and March 19 at the CVCI Hall, 1602 Esmeralda Avenue in Minden. Advanced General Admission $22, $25 at-the-door. $20 seniors/students. $10 Douglas High School students with ID.

Additional showing: 7:30 p.m. March 25

2 p.m. Matinees March 20, March 26 and March 27.

Tickets are available at the Box Office, located at 1572 U.S. Highway 395 N in Minden open Tuesday and Friday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. or at

After receiving a $5,000 Project Grant from the Nevada Arts Council/National Endowment for the Arts, and an additional $5,000 grant from Douglas County to improve the theatre’s sound equipment, the Carson Valley Community Theatre asked the Douglas High School Drama department to work with them on a production.

 “This helps us both out and allows us to mount this show in a way that meets our production standards and provides the quality we want to present to our community,” said Jones. “We are also very thankful to the Commissioners for providing these grant funds to us in upgrading the sound quality of our performances. The generosity of Douglas County is much appreciated by CVCT and will be appreciated by our attendees too.”

As a collaborated production between the Carson Valley Community Theatre and Douglas High School, the musical features cast members from the community and students. In addition to DHS drama teacher and band and choir director Amy Sando and Mark Porter, University of Reno student of Opera Cameron Tolbert, Douglas High School junior and student director Freddie Baker and Choreographer Francesca Melander.

Based on the book by Rachel Sheinkin and adopted from the musical “C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E” by Rebecca Feldman “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” takes audience on a comical and heart-string-pulling experience at a Putnam Valley Middle School gym where six quirky adolescents compete in a spelling bee, run by three equally quirky grown-ups. 

“This comedy musical has so much to keep you entertained with its unique and lovable characters, witty one-liners and touching moments,” said Sando.


Meet “The Putnam County’s 25th Annual Spelling Bee” Directors

Amy Sando, Director

Amy Sando is the Douglas High School Drama and English teacher. She has been involved in theater most of her life with her first acting role in third grade and her first directing job at 19 years old. She has been on the stage before with CVCT as an actress in the Savannah Sipping Society, but this is her first time directing for them. She has worked with the Dakota Organization as both an actress and director. As head of the Theater Dept. at Douglas High School and Whittell High School before that, she has directed over 40 plays and musicals. In addition, she sponsors Thespian Troupe 990 and an Improv team at the high school, as well as a short film festival. Her favorite roles have been directing Rabbit Hole and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream twice.

Mark Porter, Musical Director

Mark Porter is currently in his first year as the band and choir teacher at Douglas High School. A Louisiana native, he recently graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor’s of Music Education. Prior to his role as one of the musical directors for Putnam County Spelling Bee, he served as a pit musician for musicals such as Curtains, Peter Pan, Shrek the Musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and The Little Mermaid.

Cameron R. Tolbert, Co-Musical Director 

Cameron Tolbert has been acting with CVCT since his very first part as Charlie Brown in You’re a good Man Charlie Brown back in 2017.  Since then, Cameron has been a part of three more CVCT productions, 2 UNR opera productions, and World Percussion Ensemble.  Cameron is currently serving both Douglas and Washoe County school districts as a Middle and High School substitute teacher and is pursuing a Bachelor of Music Degree at UNR.

Freddie Baker, Actress and Assistant Student Musical Director 

Freddie Baker is a junior at Douglas High School and the assistant student musical director during production and rehearsals. Baker is also portraying William Barfee in the musical. She has been in two productions with Douglas High School.  She acted in Everyone Gets Abducted by Aliens and she directed and acted in Everyone Gets Eaten by Sharks.  This is Freddie’s first time in a production with a theatre outside of school. At DHS she is the Drama Club President and the captain of the Comedy Improv Club.  

She also sings as a third-year member of the Douglas Dynamics.  After high school, Freddie wants to join the Nevada National Guard and serve part time while she works for her Master’s Degree in musical performance and stage acting at UNR.  After that, she plans to go to AMDA or Julliard and see the East Coast. Her dream is to one day play a lead on Broadway.


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