Pioneer Theatre Company presents the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, September 12 through 27, 2014.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a hilarious tale of high school-aged overachievers, their hopes, their dreams, and their angst as they compete for a slot in the National Spelling Bee. Overseen by adults still stuck in adolescence themselves, they sing their stories, utilize unique spelling techniques and learn that losing

There are two licensed versions of ...Spelling Bee, and PTC will produce both versions. The original, slightly bawdier performance deals more directly with the inescapable fact that one of the young Spelling Bee contestants is facing the onset of puberty, with some embarrassing consequences. That version will be performed at the Thursday, September 18th and Wednesday, September 24th performances.

All other performances will be of the milder version, which deals with the character's dilemma a little more discreetly. That version would probably be rated PG-13 for a small amount of language and subject matter.

"We think Salt Lake City audiences will appreciate the opportunity to see both versions of Spelling Bee," said Managing Director Chris Lino, "and we hope some patrons take advantage of the chance to see both versions-it's a slightly different production each time."

MARY FANNING DRIGGS returns to PTC as the long-time spelling bee hostess and former champion, Rona Lisa Peretti. Driggs has appeared in many PTC productions, including LES MISERABLES, Sunset Boulevard, White Christmas and 42ndStreet.

JACOB HOFFMAN plays Chip Tolentino, a Boy Scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee hoping to defend his title. Returning to Utah after having appeared in Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical and Twelfth Night during the Utah Shakespearean Festival's 2007 season, this is his PTC debut.

ERICK PINNICK plays Mitch Mahoney, the "Official Comfort Counselor," and returns to Pioneer Theatre Company after appearing as Ulysses in Paint Your Wagon and No Moe in Five Guys Named Moe. He has appeared on Broadway in A Christmas Carol, Off-Broadway in Roundabout's The Tin Pan Alley Rag and has toured nationally with Sunset Boulevard.

KENDAL SPARKS plays William Barfèe who with his "magic spelling foot," hopes to vindicate himself after his early elimination the previous year. Sparks has performed in City Center Encores! in New York City, as well as in regional theatres throughout the country. This is Sparks' PTC debut.

JEFF TALBOTT as frustrated Vice Principal Douglas Panch returns to PTC after previously appearing in The Odd Couple (Felix) and Doubt (Father Flynn). Talbott was also seen on Broadway in Sly Fox and Fortune's Fool.

Playing the ultimate overachiever Marcy Park, SHANNON TYO returns to PTC after last appearing as Kim in Miss Saigon.

EMILY WALTON playing Olive Ostrovsky, the quiet only child with the absent father, makes her PTC debut. Walton was in the Broadway companies of Peter and the Starcatcher and August: Osage County.

AUSTIN ARCHER and ELISE GROVES both return to PTC's stage. Archer plays Leaf Coneybear and was seen in last year's A Few Good Men and Much Ado About Nothing. Groves plays the lisping Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre and was last seen in Sunset Boulevard.

In her third season with PTC, Artistic Director KAREN AZENBERG directs this production after directing last season's Sweet Charity, A Few Good Men and Something's Afoot. Originally from New York, Azenberg's work there includes Lyrics and Lyricists (92nd St. Y), Blocks (a collaboration with Jonathan Larson), Prom Queens Unchained, and choreography for Richard Greenberg's The Dazzle (Roundabout). Other credits include National Tours of Carousel and Brigadoon, Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Regional Theatre Premiere at Geva), over fifteen productions of West Side Story, one of which earned her a Drama-Logue Award for Outstanding Choreography, and many others.

DANNY PELZIG choreographs this production in his second production at PTC. He also choreographed Ragtime at PTC. He choreographed 33 Variations and A Year With Frog and Toad on Broadway. As a director and choreographer for opera, theatre and ballet, his most recent credits include Carousel at the Glimmerglass Festival, The Figaro Plays at the McCarter, Private Lives at Shakespeare Theatre, Lucia di Lammermoor at La Scala and Die Fledermaus at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera.

Guest artist HELEN GREGORY returns as musical director after conducting three previous productions for PTC: Rent, In The Heights, and Something's Afoot. Ms. Gregory will also be conducting for The Rocky Horror Show: Concert Version at PTC in October.

Scenic design is by visiting artist DANIEL MEEKER in his Pioneer Theatre Company debut. Recent credits include designs at the Portland Center Stage. He was also the Lead Lighting designer for the Pickathon Festival, an independent annual music festival in Happy Valley Oregon.

Irene Sharaff Young Master Award winner GREGORY GALE designs the costumes for this production. His Broadway work includes Cyrano de Bergerac and Rock of Ages, both of which earned Tony Award Nominations. His Broadway credits also include the costume design for Arcadia, The Wedding Singer, Band in Berlin and Urinetown.

Lighting design is by guest designer MICHAEL GILLIAM. Gilliam returns to PTC after designing for Sweet Charity, The Odd Couple, Of Mice and Men, Next to Normal, Rent, A Chorus Line and others. His Broadway credits include Brooklyn, Big River and Stand-Up Tragedy. He also designed for the national tours of Brooklyn, Guys and Dolls and Big River, and has won the Los Angeles Ovation Award, Drama-Logue Award, Garland Award and the 1999 Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle.

Sound design is by JOSHUA C. HIGHT. Hight is an established live sound engineer in both London and Salt Lake City. His other projects of note include working with Sommerset House for the 2012 Olympic Games, Of Monsters and Men, Collective Soul, Fallout Boy, Slash, the Psychedelic Furs, Citizen Cope, the Dropkick Murphys, Gogol Bordello, Kate Nash, Easton Corbin, Sevendust and many more. Hight is a Graduate with Distinction of London's Alchemea College of Audio Engineering and the Resident Sound Designer for PTC.

Hair and makeup design is by PTC resident designer AMANDA FRENCH. French has worked for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Utah Opera, Egyptian Theatre Company and the University of Texas as Austin. She is a contributing writer in the tenth edition of Stage Makeup by Corson, Glavan and Norcross, and her work can be seen in The Costume Technician's Handbook by Ingham and Covey, and Wig Making and Styling: A Complete Guide for Theatre and Film by Ruskai and Lowery.

Zoey's Playlist on NBC

Related Articles View More Salt Lake City Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You