Akeelah and the Bee | Vittum Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge La Shone T. Kelly

La Shone T. Kelly

Doug Haight

When: Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through Nov. 25 2017
Price: $17, $12 kids 14 and under
adventurestage.org
In Cheryl L. West’s adaptation of the 2006 inspirational film of the same name, Akeelah Anderson (La Shone T. Kelly) needs the help of her entire community if she’s going to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. West transports the action from Los Angeles to Chicago and cuts down the size of Akeelah’s family, but otherwise the story is the same. Brandon Rivera’s gleefully over-the-top performance as Akeelah’s preppy friend Javier delights the children in the audience, and Aaron Quick’s projections add excitement to the spelling sequences as words form around the set. Daryl Brooks directs this Adventure Stage production with the effervescent energy demanded by children’s theater, but the darker elements of the plot need more definition to reinforce the high stakes of the spelling bee. —Oliver Sava

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