It's not unusual for two local theaters to tackle the same project in one production period — I once caught three performances of "Steel Magnolias" in a six-week span. What is strange, however, is two theaters putting on the same show at the same time, and only a few miles apart.
Nevertheless, it's happening now as the Westminster Community Theater's production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" opens, while another version is still running at the Huntington Beach Playhouse. To be fair, the latter was a late program change due to the unavailability of a scheduled show.
The William Finn-Rachel Sheinkin musical satire about junior-high-level nerds matching wits is entertaining enough to support dueling productions. And it's a show where egregious overplaying not only is accepted but encouraged.
The WCT production, ably directed by Kirk Larson, is creatively set at the Westminster Middle School — home of the Sea Cucumbers. Hey, if UC Santa Cruz can have its Banana Slugs (and UC Irvine its Anteaters), why not?