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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Audiences = 4.3


Running since: May, 2005
A quirky and playful new musical from the author of Falsettos and director James Lapine about... a spelling bee.

The Broadway production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee closed February January 20, 2008. For current Broadway show listings and tickets, please click here.

Imagine your school spelling bee, if all the contestants had the wit and whimsy enough to express their feelings through spontaneous acts of musical theatre. If you like the idea, you'll doubtlessly enjoy this exquisitely rendered effort from William Finn and James Lapine. Housed in the cinderblock gymnicafertorium that is Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre, the production makes every effort to conjure up the feeling of a school assembly, at which the painfully awkward adolescents suffer through the terrors and bliss of growing up.

There's a minor audience-participation element to the evening, as a few members of the audience join the cast onstage as 'contestants' at the beginning - no worries, if you don't want to, you won't have to. The staff quietly canvasses the lobby before the show to solicit participants - your odds are best if you're with a large group, look relatively sober, and are not an actor. (Our editor didn't stand a chance.)

Mature themes (there's a tumescence song).

Recommended for 10 and over.
Children under the age of 5 are not permitted in the theatre.


Here's a clip from the show's performance on the Tony Awards - you may have to click the arrow twice to play:

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