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Photo Flash: Paige Davis Wins Big at BROADWAY BEE

Monday night at NYC's Le Poisson Rouge, the fourth annual Broadway Bee competition scored impressive success. Broadway stars, cast mates, and supporters raised $41,898 for Broadway Bound Kids' arts education programs. Eleven teams, each representing a Broadway show, were encouraged to pull out all the stops to correctly spell their way to victory. The more funds each team raised, the more they were allowed to cheat!

Paige Davis, representing team Chicago, took home the grand prize trophy. Queen bee of Mean Girls, Taylor Louderman, was on hand to comfort the losers, but with all proceeds going to arts education for NYC kids, everyone went home a winner. After an awe-inspiring turn of events, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child speller, Alex Weisman shocked the crowd with his Broadway trivia skills. Following the round, Weisman proclaimed : "I was a broadway kid just like those students. Now I'm an adult. I'm here to prove you can be on Broadway and still be a Broadway Nerd!"

Hosted by improvisation favorites Carol Johnson and Jay Reiss (co-creator of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), the audience was in for a treat as they portrayed the Principal and guest judge Linda DeVos (cousin of Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos). Giving a nod to the Tony award winning musical that inspired the fundraiser, Oklahoma's Tony nominated speller, Ali Stroker, favored writing words on her hand and in the air before spelling them aloud. Unfortunately, the girl who can't say no did not say 'Yes!' to a win, as she was eliminated in a round of anagrams.

This marks Paige's third year participating in the Broadway Bee -- proving that the third time is indeed the charm! Rounding out the final four spellers of the evening were runner up Evan Todd (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Lauryn Ciardullo (Aladdin), and last year's Broadway Bee champion, Lee Aaron Rosen (Angels in America), all returning spellers from previous years. The four have collectively raised $41,607 for Broadway Bound Kids since the inception of the Broadway Bee.

Additionally, this year's competitors included Zach Hess (Frozen) who went toe to toe with fellow Disney Theatrical favorite, Lauryn Ciardullo (Aladdin), in a special Game of Thrones trivia round. Afra Hines (Hadestown), J Harrison Ghee (Kinky Boots), Jelani Remy (Ain't Too Proud), and Jillian Mueller(Pretty Woman) gave a whole-hearted effort, but their cheats could not save them from elimination. Davis' win would not have been possible without her "reanimator" challenge of singing The Mueller Report as Bill Barr to Reiss' Kamala Harris. Her melodic portrayal kept her in the game.

Broadway Bound Kids has been providing arts education programs for NYC youth since 2004. Their programs inspire and empower young lives through the arts by creating a nurturing and stress-free environment where kids gain confidence, express themselves, and find a place where they feel a sense of belonging and acceptance.

To learn more about the arts education organization, or to donate to Broadway Bound Kids: www.broadwayboundkids.org

Photo Credit: Michael Hull/Christine DiPasquale


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