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'Bee' Spells Farewell January 20, 2008

After running for three years in New York City, the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will play its final Broadway performance on Sunday, January 20, 2008 at Circle in the Square Theatre (West 50th St., between Broadway and 8th).  Upon closing, the award-winning musical will have played 1,136 performances and 21 previews on Broadway.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opened on Broadway on May 2, 2005, following a critically acclaimed, sold-out off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theatre, where it began performances on January 11, 2005 and officially opened on February 7, 2005.   The musical had its world premiere production at Barrington Stage Company in July 2004.   Winner of Two Tony Awards (Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Dan Fogler), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee became the first Broadway musical of the 2004-05 season to recoup its investment, doing so in just 18 weeks, an amazingly short time for a Broadway musical to earn back its capitalization.

A successful national tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is currently playing around the country, most recently at the National Theater in Washington, D.C. (Peter Marks of The Washington Post called the production "laugh-out-loud funny").  The musical has enjoyed lengthy sit-down productions in Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston, and has been produced internationally in Melbourne and Sydney.

A hilariously hip musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee features six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learning that winning isn't everything and that losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser.

At each performance, four audience volunteers are invited onstage to participate in the Bee.  When The 25th Annual Putnam County Speling Bee completes its New York run, it will have welcomed over 4,500 audience volunteers, almost all appearing on a Broadway stage for the first time. Among the volunteer spellers were Julie Andrews, Lea Salonga, Raul Esparza, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Stephen Graham, Jeffrey Toobin, Curtis Sliwa, National Spelling Bee Champ Kelly Close and Al Sharpton (in his infamous cameo on the 2005 Tony Awards).

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, choreography by Dan Knechtges, conceived by Rebecca Feldman and directed by James Lapine.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee currently stars Aaron J. Albano as Chip Tolentino, Stanley Bahorek as Leaf Coneybear, Jenni Barber as Olive Ostrovsky, Jared Gertner as William Barfee, James Monroe Iglehart as comfort counselor Mitch Mahoney, Sara Inbar as Logainne Schwartzandgrubinneirre, Greta Lee as Marcy Park, Daniel Pearce as Vice Principal Douglas Panch, and Jennifer Simard as Rona Lisa Perretti.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is performed at Broadway's Circle in the Square (50th St., between Broadway and 8th) on the following schedule:  Tuesday at 7pm, Wednesday at 2pm, Thursday - Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm and 7:30pm.  Tickets are available through Telecharge, (212) 239-6200 or www.telecharge.com or by visiting the Circle in the Square Theatre box office.  Tickets prices are $100.00 and $50.00.  Premium seating is available. For more information, please visit www.spellingbeethemusical.com.

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