25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Music and Lyrics by William Finn
Directed by Heather Denton
Produced by Mark & Sandi Thompson

August 22, 23, 24, 25 & 29,20,
30 & September 1, 2019
8 performances

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM
Sundays at 3 PM

Synopsis An eclectic group of sixth-graders arrives at the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, each eager to win for very different reasons. Sweet and shy Olive brings only her best friend (the dictionary) with her to the bee; bold and hyperallergic speller William Barfee uses his “magic foot” to propel him to greatness; former champion Chip is struggling with his burgeoning puberty; easily distracted Leaf is unconvinced that he’s smart enough to be a challenger; overachiever Marcy is disappointed by her consistent success; and politically aware Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre only wants to impress her gay dads. In hilarious, touching, and catchy songs, each speller reveals his/her hopes, struggles, and passions as they make their way through the competition. With an engaging, tuneful score by William Finn and a sweet, funny book by Rachel Sheinkin,The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee causes audiences to fall in love, both with the show itself and its “perspicacious,” “jocular,” and “effervescent” spellers.
Casting ALL cast members must be able to sing and move up and down bleachers. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script and a prepared song from the show.

Chip Tolentino -  An athletic, social, boy scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment. Male Age: 18-30

Logainne Schwartzandgrunenierre (Schwartzy)  - Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. She is driven by internal and external pressure, but above all by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp. Female Age: 18-30

Leaf Coneybear - The second runner-up in his district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the bee incredibly amusing. He is home-schooled and comes from a large family of former hippies. He has severe Attention Deficit Disorder and spells words correctly while in a trance. Male Age: 18-30

William Barfee - A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and is back for vindication. His famous "Magic Foot" method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy, bullying personality. He develops a crush on Olive. Male Age: 18-30

Marcy Park  - A recent transfer from Virginia, Marcy placed ninth in last year's nationals. She speaks six languages, is a member of an all-American hockey team, a championship rugby player, plays Chopin and Mozart on multiple instruments, sleeps only three hours a night, hides in the bathroom cabinet, and is getting very tired of always winning. She is the poster child for the Over-Achieving Asian, and attends a Catholic school called "Our Lady of Intermittent Sorrows." She is also not allowed to cry. Female Age: 18-30

Olive Ostrovsky - A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. Having found comfort in its words and vastness, Olive made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition. She starts enormously shy, and shyly blossoms. Female Age: 18-30

Rona Lisa Peretti - The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and the returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch and his feelings for her. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and drives it forward. Female Age: 30 & up

Douglas Panch  - The Vice Principle. Frustrated with his life, he finds the drive of the young spellers alien to him. After five years' absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an "incident" at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in "a better place" now, thanks to a high-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections. Male Age: 30 & up

Mitch Mahoney - The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He has no idea how to offer comfort but does find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better. Male Age: 20 & up

Carl's Dad - Schwarzy's main trainer, the more intense and competitive of Schwarzy's fathers.  Male Age: 30 & up

Dan's Dad - the more laid back and ineffectual of Schwarzy's fathers.  Male Age: 30 & up

Jesus Christ Deity - invoked by a speller in need.  Male Age: 30 & up

Leaf's Mom, Dad, And Siblings - All more academically gifted than Leaf, they are even more surprised than he is by his success.  Male & Female Age: 30 & up

Olive's Dad - A fantasy version of Olive's dad coming to the bee from work.  Male Age: 30 & up

Olive's Mom - A fantasy version of Olive's mom at her Ashram in India.  Female Age: 30 & up

Auditions Sunday, June 30, 2019 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Monday, July 1, 2019 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Contact the director Heather Denton at eechihua@msn.com or (828) 230-7535 with any questions.
History The musical opened Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre on January 11, 2005 in previews, officially on February 7, 2005, and closed on March 20, 2005. The production won several awards, among them the 2005 Lucille Lortel Awards, Outstanding Musical and 2005 Drama Desk Awards, Outstanding Ensemble Performance.

Spelling Bee premiered on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre on April 15, 2005 and closed on January 20, 2008 after 1,136 performances. The show won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Featured Actor.

Before the show begins, audience members are given the chance to sign up to participate in the show as "spellers." The audience participants are taken backstage prior to the show and are shown where to stand when called from the audience and given instruction about what to do when called upon to spell. They are asked to request a definition of each word and its usage in a sentence, and to attempt to spell each word rather than giving up. The final audience member to be eliminated is usually given an exceptionally difficult word he or she is sure to miss; regardless of the spelling the cast reacts with incredulity at his or her "success," and the next word is "belled" as incorrect before the attempt is completed. During the performance, the actors sitting next to the audience participants periodically whisper hints about when to stand, sit, move in "slow motion," "freeze" or hang etc. depending on the action on stage.