Way Off Broadway to Present THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE

The Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre continues its 2016 Season with the musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, opening Friday, May 6th.

Spelling Bee centers on an eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home life, the tweens spell their way through a series of [potentially made-up] words hoping to never hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! A riotous ride complete with audience participation, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is an award-winning laugh extravaganza.

The show originally premiered Off Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre in January 2005, where it ran until it closed in March. The initial staging received praise from critics and was a box office success. Following its two month engagement, the show transferred to Broadway and began performances at the Circle in the Square Theatre that April.

The original Second Stage cast, which included Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who would later go on to star in ABC's Modern Family, transferred with the show to Broadway. The show was nominated for six Tony Awards, taking home the trophies for Best Book and Best Featured Actor (Dan Fogler). When the production finally closed on January 20, 2008, it had played 21 previews and over 1,100 performances.

Unlike almost all other musicals, Spelling Bee enlists four audience members to join the cast for each performance, becoming contestants at the spelling bee themselves. With countless unscripted moments, hilarious over-the-top characters, and a spelling championship title on the line, Spelling Bee is a laugh riot.

Way Off Broadway's ensemble cast includes Sarah Burton as Marcy Park, Marcia Franklin as Rona Lisa Peretti, Alex Levenson as Logainee Schwartzandgrubenierre, Matthew Lincoln-Bugg as Mitch Mahoney, Michael Reid as Vice Principal Douglas Panch, Jordan B. Stocksdale as Leaf Coneybear, Thomas Stratton as William Barfee, Joseph Waeyaert as Chip Tolentino, and Tori Weaver as Olive Ostrovsky.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was conceived by Rebecca Feldman, and has music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Rachel Sheinkin. Way Off Broadway's production is directed by the theatre's Executive Producer, Bill Kiska, with music direction by Jordan B. Stocksdale, and choreography by Dee Buchanan.

The show will run from May 6th through June 25th with performances every Friday and Saturday evening and matinees on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sunday of each month.

The Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, under the direction of the Kiska Family since 2002, celebrated its 20th Anniversary Platinum Season in 2014. Since it first opened in 1995, the theatre has been a leader in the area's theatre community, proudly bringing both classic musicals, as well as regional and area premieres to the Frederick stage. Productions have included The Addams Family, Les Misérable, Sunset Boulevard, Legally Blonde, Dolly Parton's 9 to 5: The Musical, The Music Man, Jekyll & Hyde, Hairspray, South Pacific, The Drowsy Chaperone, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, Mel Brooks' The Producers, CATS,The Wedding Singer, Evita, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, La Cage aux Folles, Guys & Dolls, Steel Magnolias, Annie, Bye Bye, Birdie, The King & I, ...Forum, Lend Me a Tenor, Joseph..., Blood Brothers, Mame, and 42nd Street. Way Off Broadway is also the home of a one-of-a-kind children's lunch theatre, offering entertainment for the entire family, giving children a chance to see their favorite characters live on stage. In addition to its regular season, the theatre produces a number of special events throughout the year including an annual Breakfast with Santa (and Mrs. Claus) and an interactive mysteries series.



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