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Tony Vs. Tony Video: Mo Rocca 'Splains It All

In this hilarious video on Mo Rocca's blog, the 25th Annual County Spelling Bee star asks New Yorkers whether they'll be watching The Tony Awards or the series finale of "The Sopranos" this Sunday - and if those planning on watching the Tonys might be persuaded to change their tune once a certain HBO-loving mobster appears before them!

The 2007 Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 10th at 8 PM; it will air opposite "The Sopranos."  "The Sopranos," which premiered on HBO in January of 1999, has been a critical and popular success for the six seasons in which it has aired.  The comedy-drama concerns an Italian-American Mafia family.

Mo Rocca is appearing as Vice Principal Douglas Panch in Spelling Bee through June 10th (he will be succeeded by "Saturday Night Live" star Darrell Hammond).

Rocca is a theatre veteran who has co-adapted and starred in San Francisco productions of Of Thee I Sing and Let 'Em Eat Cake as well performed on tour in Grease.  The bespectacled star is known to TV audiences for his work on "The Tonight Show" and "The Daily Show."

Spelling Bee also stars Jennifer Simard (Dr. Sex, The Thing About Men, Forbidden Broadway) as Rona Lisa Piretti, Aaron J. Albano (Wicked national tour) as Chip Tolentino, Stanley Bahorek (Big River national tour,) as Leaf Coneybear, Jenni Barber (Henry and Mudge) as Olive Ostrovsky, Sara Inbar (Mamma Mia!, Lizzie Borden) as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, Greta Lee (No Boundaries at NYMF) as Marcy Park, James Monroe Iglehart (Show Boat national tour) as Mitch Mahoney, and Jared Gertner (My Favorite Year) as William Barfee.

"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," according to press materials on the show.

Spelling Bee is the Tony Award-winning musical with music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman and directed by James Lapine.   The Broadway production of Spelling Bee opened on May 2, 2005 before launching a national tour in September of 2006 and an open-ended engagement in Chicago in March of 2006.

Visit for more information on Spelling Bee, and for more information on the Tony Awards.

Photo of Mo Rocca by Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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