25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Tickets Are Now on Sale

Written by Maya Cantu

Tickets for the Broadway transfer of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are now available; they can be purchased through Telecharge and the Circle in the Square Theatre's box office.

The quirky, critically-acclaimed William Finn musical has proved popular beyond expectations. The original off-Broadway run at the Second Stage Theatre sold out within 5 days, and resulted in the show's extending. The musical began previews Jan. 11th, opened on Feb. 7th and only recently closed on March 20th.

The list of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee's producing team is almost as long as the title--it includes David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Barrington Stage Company and Second Stage Theatre. They are opening the show in time for Tony voting deadlines--after beginning previews on April 15th, Spelling Bee will open on May 2nd at the Circle in the Square Theatre.

The show takes an affectionate look at 10 precocious middle schoolers who participate in the spelling competition of the title. Rich in audience participation, Spelling Bee also makes use of the conceit of having the wunderkinds portrayed by adult actors. Included among the youthful sector of the cast are Derrick Baskin, Deborah S. Craig, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dan Fogler, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Jose Llana and Sarah Saltzberg. Lisa Howard and Jay Reiss play the sole grown-up characters. All the actors were in the show's premiere July 2004 production at the Barrington Stage Company in Sheffield, MA.

Based on the play C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E by The Farm and on a concept by Rebecca Feldman, The
25th Annual Putnam County Spellig Bee features a score by William Finn and a book by Rachel Sheinkin. The production is directed by James Lapine.

Finn's name is perhaps the first that springs to mind when the words "off-Broadway musical" are mentioned. He wrote the music and lyrics for In Trousers, March of the Falsettos, Falsettoland (the latter two of the trilogy were consolidated into Broadway's Falsettos), and A New Brain. He also wrote Elegies: A Song Cycle, an exploration of loss, grief and love after death.

Sheinkin is something of a theatrical up-and-comer. Past credits include the regional musical Striking 12, and The Doctor of Last Resort, which was produced by Clubbed Thumb Theatre Company. She has worked with Finn before, having studied under him at NYU's Graduate Music Theatre Writing School.

Lapine and Finn have also collaborated in the past; Lapine directed and wrote the book for March of the Falsettos (1981) and Falsettoland (1990) in both their off-Broadway and Broadway incarnations. Lapine also helmed and wrote the books for three Sondheim musicals: Sunday in the Park with George in 1984, Into the Woods in 1987 (as well as its 2002 revival) and Passion in 1994. Other Broadway credits include the revivals of The Diary of Anne Frank in 1997 and Golden Child in 1998.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee's choreography is by Dan Knechtges, with orchestrations by Michael Starobin and musical direction by Vadim Feichtner. On the design team are Beowulf Boritt, Jennifer Caprio, Natasha Katz and Dan Moses Schreier; they are respectively responsible for sets, costumes, lighting and sound.

Tickets can be ordered through Telecharge--212 239 6200. The Circle in the Square Theatre's box office is located at 1633 Broadway on 50th St., between 8th Avenue and Broadway

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