The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Students perform in a play.

Mia Johnson has had plenty of experience on stage, having appeared in last fall’s Newsies at the Herberger Theater.

This week, the Millennium High School senior is helming The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a musical comedy based on a fictional spelling bee in Putnam Valley Middle School. Johnson is directing it along with Raquel Jacobsen.

“It’s a completely different perspective, but I think one that everyone should experience,” she said about stepping behind the scenes. “It teaches you a whole different area of theater on the director’s side. Directors aren’t appreciated enough.”

The first senior-directed theater shows will be staged at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, February 7, and Friday, February 8, at Millennium High School. Tickets are $7 at the door for the show sponsored by theater teacher Kim Laguardia.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will be presented as a double feature with Radium Girls, a drama based on the true story of female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous paint. That is directed by Blake Sullivan and Brian Le.

“It’s a really intense drama,” Johnson said. “I’ll leave it there because I don’t want to spoil the ending.”

Putnam County is a musical that Johnson has always wanted to do.

“It’s a one-act (musical) where the characters are on stage the whole time,” Johnson said. “It’s challenging to not have to on and off the stage.”