About the BEE

In the musical comedy, THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.

This hilarious tale of overachievers’ angst -- tender and sardonic -- chronicles the experience of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime.   The show’s Tony Award-winning creative team has created the unlikeliest of blockbuster musicals about the unlikeliest of heroes: a quirky yet charming cast of characters for whom a spelling bee is the one place where they can stand out and fit in at the same time.

About the Audience Participants

Before every performance of THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, four audience volunteers are recruited to participate on-stage as guest spellers.  The willing contestants are chosen through a careful vetting process, utilizing pre-show lobby interviews and audience questionnaires.  Each new foursome guarantees a new set of hilarious and unexpected experiences – one night is just as unique as the one before it.

A Brief History of the Show

THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE started as a non-musical play entitled C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, done by the improvisational group “The Farm.” One of the performers in the play, Sarah Saltzberg, happened to be the nanny of playwright Wendy Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles). Wasserstein was impressed by what she saw and suggested to friend William Finn (Falsettos) that he may be able to take the show to the next level. Finn, his former student Rachel Sheinkin, and C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E creator Rebecca Feldman worked together to turn the piece into a full-length musical.

In the winter of 2004, SPELLING BEE had a workshop at Barrington Stage Company in Sheffield, Massachusetts. The following summer, the show had its first full production, in a cafeteria turned theatre.

From there, SPELLING BEE moved to Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre, where it quickly sold out its original stay and was extended due to glowing reviews and powerful word of mouth. The show broke Second Stage records and moved to Broadway’s Circle in the Square on April 15, 2005 with an official opening on May 2nd. The show again received rave reviews and won two 2005 Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor.

Some Helpful Articles About THE BEE

The Sweet Spell of Musical Success
The New York Times

Finn Leaps Into Mainstream With ‘Spelling Bee’
Chicago Tribune

Sweet Spell Of Success
Time Out NY Kids

Young At Art
New York Post

Casting Call For Spellers (No Experts Please)
The New York Times




©2005, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee