The Alabama Shakespeare Festival will complete its 2011-12 season with the Tony Award-winning hit musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, August 10 through September 2.

Tickets start at $30 and can be obtained by calling 800.841.4273, on line at or by visiting the ASF box office at 1 Festival Drive in the heart of Montgomery’s beautiful Blount Cultural Park.

The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee features music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Rachel Sheinkin.

This side-splitting musical is centered on the finalists of a spelling bee that takes place in the gymnasium of the Putnam County Middle School. The six quirky prepubescent teens (played by adults) that are competing for the county championship are supervised by three equally wild and wacky grown-ups. A fascinating element of the musical is that audience members are also invited to compete with the spelling bee participants—with hilarious results.

The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee ran for 1,136 performances on Broadway, was nominated for “Best Musical” and won for “Best Book” in 2005. Songs from the 20-song score include My Friend the Dictionary, I’m Not That Smart, Why We Like Spelling, Prayer of the Comfort Counselor and I Speak Six Languages.

ASF’s cast includes Randy Blair (William Barfee), Eleni Delopoulos (Rona Peretti), Liz Froio (Logaine Schwartzy), John Garry (Leaf Coneybear), Kyle Scatliffe (Mitch Mahoney), Laura Yumi Snell (Marcy Park), Georgia Tapp (Olive Ostrovsky) and Brandon Yanez (Chip Tolentino). Billy Sharpe, who has performed in ASF’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, will play the role of Vice Principal Panch and serve as dance captain.

Geoffrey Sherman, ASF’s producing artistic director, directs the production. Sherman’s previous directing credits this season include the hits Dracula and Travels with My Aunt. Tom Griffin will serve as the show’s musical director. His recent credits at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival include Peter Pan: The Musical and A Christmas Memory. Griffin will lead a band consisting of Joel Jones (assistant musical director/keyboard), Curtis Hollinger (reeds), Andy Martin (percussion) and Brett Rominger (synthesizer).

Others on the creative team include Peter Hicks (set design), Jeffrey Todhunter (costume design), Phil Monat (lighting design) and Richelle Thompson (sound design). Jen Nelson Lane is the stage manager for the production.

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is among the largest Shakespeare theatres in the world. Designated as The State Theatre of Alabama, ASF has been located in Montgomery since 1985 when it moved from Anniston as a result of Mr. and Mrs. Wynton M. Blount’s gift of a performing arts complex set in the 250-acre Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park. This program/project has been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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