August 21st 2013  Bottletree


Spell Check was the first event Max hosted after moving to Birmingham in Spring of 2013, and helped set in motion his future productions. His background as an educator, actor, and comedian combined to create this nostalgic game-show style fundraiser. 

This adult spelling bee was subject to standard rules, as used in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but with some added twists: three lifelines were available to each speller to help make things a little more fun for the audience. Spellers could designate a surrogate speller in the audience in the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? style, donate money and/or time to the Desert Island Supply Co. (DISCO), or fashion a new sentence using their given word instead of spelling it, with the audience voting on its merit via a series of Arsenio Hall Show-style whoops or boos.  All spellers had one minute to spell their word, and were allowed to ask for language of origin, repeated pronunciation, and other convenient stalling tactics. Spellers were judged by Director of Programming at DISCO Lillis Taylor, local comedienne Seama Khan and Max Rykov.

For those not spelling, there were a number of exciting diversions. The night kicked off with a former professional singer belting out the alphabet song to the tune of an “embellished national anthem,” The audience could vote on their favorite speller (“M-s. C-o-n-g-e-n-i-a-l-i-t-y”), enter a raffle, and submit (for a $5 fee) a word for competition. The three judges also offered lighthearted running commentary throughout the night. Poster design courtesy of Scott Carlisle.

Learn more about the Desert Island Supply Co.