North Coast Repertory Theatre's SPELLING BEE Ends

North Coast Repertory Theatre is proud to present The San Diego Premiere of a two-time Tony Award winning musical. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman, directed by Rick Simas

July 3 - August 1st, 2010
Previews: June 30 - July 2, 2010

Some mature content. Recommended for audiences 13 and up.

"Can you spell i-r-r-e-s-i-s-t-i-b-l-e? 'Spelling Bee' is riotously funny and remarkably ingenious. Gold stars all around," says the New York Times. Prepare to feel the angst of fidgety adolescents who prove that the only thing worse than being 13 is being 13 while attempting to correctly spell "pyrrhonism". This two-time Tony Award winning hit musical celebrates the mania of competition as the funniest most lovable and sardonically nerdy contestants compete for the Spelling Bee title. Six wacky misfits with steely ambition strive to define themselves apart from their crazy families as they confront the pitfalls of puberty. Anyway you spell it; THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE is side-splittingly F-U-N-N-Y.

The Cast of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee includes:
The Adults
Melinda Gilb* as Rona Lisa Peretti
Phil Johnson* as Douglas Panch
Robert Barry Fleming* as Mitch Mahoney
The Spellers
Brandon Joel Maier as Chip Tolentino
Sarah Errington as Logainne Schwarzandgrubenierre
Jacob Caltrider as Leaf Coneybear
Omri Schein* as William Barfee
Cashae Monya as Marcy Parks
Nicole Werner* as Olive Ostrovsky
The Musicians
Steven Withers is Musical Director/Keyboards
Matt Best on Woodwinds
Tom Versen on Percussion
*Member of Actors' Equity Association

From Director Rick Simas on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee:
"While musicals are derived from many sources--classic books, notable plays, successful movies-perhaps none is more unique than the source for William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin's musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Finn's involvement began with a phone call from his friend, playwright Wendy Wasserstein, whose nanny was appearing in a comedy troupe called "The Farm." One of the improvised pieces that the group performed was called C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, which took as its subject matter children competing in a spelling bee. This, to Wasserstein, seemed like the perfect source material to be developed into a William Finn musical. The composer-lyricist wisely agreed, and with writer Rachel Sheinkin, he set about developing C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E into a full-length musical entertainment. The resulting work was first performed in a workshop production at the Barrington Stage Company in February 2004, where it was well received, leading to a more fully developed version that was produced by the company that summer under the title The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The show was a success, and Finn's longtime collaborator, writer-director James Lapine, was engaged to direct the New York production, which began previews at off-Broadway's Second Stage on January 11, 2005. It was a critical and commercial hit, ensuring its transfer to Broadway, where it opened at the Circle in the Square Theatre on May 2, 2005, and ran for 1,136 performances.
I first saw this charmingly quirky show off-Broadway on a snowy afternoon in February 2005. I immediately fell in love with its nerdy characters, offbeat score, and the ingenious way that the creators used the audience to draw them into the competition. I hoped one day to direct a production of this wonderful little show and am thrilled to have the opportunity to do so here at North Coast Repertory Theatre, a perfect venue for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

William Finn (Music and Lyrics) is the writer and composer of Falsettos, for which he received two Tony® Awards, Best Book of a Musical (with James Lapine) and Best Original Score. He has also written and composed In Trousers, March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland (Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, two Los Angeles Drama Critic's Awards, two Drama Desk Awards, the Lucille Lortel Award, and Guggenheim Fellowship in Musical Composition). His most recent projects include Elegies, A Song Cycle (Lincoln Center) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which ran on Broadway and has been produced nationally and internationally. Mr. Finn provided the music and lyrics for Ace Award-winning HBO cartoons and has written for Vogue. Harper's Bazaar and The New Yorker. A graduate of Williams College where he was awarded the Hutchinson Fellowship for Musical Composition, Finn now teaches a weekly master class at the NYU Tisch Graduate Program in Musical Theatre Writing.

Rachel Sheinkin (Book) collaborated with William Finn and the company to adapt C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E into this musical (Tony®, Drama Desk awards). Other music theatre collaborations include Striking 12 (TheatreWorks, Palo Alto); Blood Drive (O'Neill National Music Theatre Conference) and Serenade (upcoming Baryshnikov Arts Center). She has been a Manhattan Theatre Club playwriting fellow and is currently an adjunct faculty member at NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Rebecca Feldman (Conceived By) won a Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk and Tony® Nomination for Best Musical for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She directed its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company in the summer of 2004. She conceived, directed and performed in C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, the play upon which The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is based, with her company The Farm. She has directed and performed in New York and regionally for the past ten years including: New York Fringe Festival (Best of Fringe '98), Soho Rep, Adobe Theatre, New Dramatists, Mabou Mines and various downtown venues.

Rick Simas (Director) North Coast Repertory Theatre: The Fantasticks, No Way to Treat a Lady, The Big Bang and I Love You Because. Previously, he directed Good News; No, No, Nanette; Promises, Promises and the West Coast premiere of Smile, which collectively won 13 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards. Other directing credits include the West Coast premiere of Goblin Market at UC Berkeley, and the East Coast premiere of The Death of Meyerhold at the Studio Theatre. At San Diego State University, he directed Triumph of Love, Bat Boy, Honk! and Zombie Prom, which collectively won 8 Patté Awards. At SDSU, he also directed the San Diego premieres of A New Brain and The Musical of Musicals, and the Southern California premiere of A Man of No Importance. At the Poway Center for the Arts, he directed Master Class; at Diversionary Theatre, the San Diego premiere of When Pigs Fly; and at the Old Globe Theatre, he assisted Tina Landau on the West Coast premiere of Floyd Collins. At the University of Judaism, he directed Jerry Herman's Milk and Honey, and created a series of successful cabarets and concerts, including From Berlin to Brooks: How Jews Made Broadway; Berlin, Bernstein and Bock: Boychiks on Broadway and Richard Rodgers: A Centennial Celebration. Rick holds a Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from UC Berkeley and has been a faculty member of The American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York. For the past 18 years, he has taught in San Diego State University's MFA Musical Theatre Program-currently the only such graduate program of its kind in the country. He thanks David Ellenstein; the talented cast, staff, musicians and crew of Spelling Bee, and everyone at North Coast Repertory Theatre.

Melinda Gilb* (Rona Lisa Peretti) Broadway: Singing in the Rain (original cast). Off Broadway: Back to Bacharach and David (original cast), Suds (Original cast and co-author). 1st National Tour: Joseph Papp's The Pirates of Penzance. Pantages Theatre: How The Grinch Stole Christmas, (Mama Who). Old Globe: How The Grinch Stole Christmas (original Mama Who), Suds. Starlight Theatre: Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett, Craig Noel Award), Annie ( Miss Hannigan). North Coast Rep: The Smell of the Kill. San Diego Rep: Miss Withersoon, Always Patsy Cline, Six Women with Brain Death. Cygnet Theatre: The Receptionist. Welk Resort Theatre: Thoroughly Modern Mille (Mrs. Meers). Melinda and Steve Show: New York, Los Angeles and San Diego. Television: Featured on The Full Wax and Ruby Takes a Trip (BBC-1); Guest star on Becker (CBS). Melinda will soon be seen in the role of Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! at Starlight Theatre. Favorite role: Mama to her 7-year-old son Knight.

Phil Johnson* (Douglas Panch) BROADWAY: Les Misérables. NATIONAL TOURS: Sunset Boulevard, Miss Saigon. TELEVISION: 'Notes From the Underbelly', ABC. SAN DIEGO: Don't Dress for Dinner, Leading Ladies, and Pageant, NC; The New Century, Diversionary; How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Globe; Christmas Carol, S.D. Rep; True West, Sledgehammer. 2006 Actor's Fest 'Best of Fest': NEMESIS and Travis & Phil. Original Comedies: San Diego, LA, Chicago- NEMESIS (w/ Mike Sears), True Lounge, Say Cheese. Member: Acme Comedy Theatre, L.A.

Robert Barry Fleming* (Mitch Mahoney) Acting credits include Ragtime and Stand-Up Tragedy (Broadway), Insurrection: Holding History (The Public/NYSF), Good Boys (Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company), King John, Scapin, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, Loves Labor's Lost, The White Devil, She Stoops to Conquer (Alabama Shakespeare Festival) and productions at San Jose Rep, A Contemporary Theatre, The Old Globe, The Mark Taper Forum, and the Guthrie. Film/TV credits include L.A. Confidential, Twilight of the Golds, a series regular on the Disney Channel's Adventures in Wonderland, and numerous guest spots. Robert won a 2008 Craig Noel Award for "Outstanding Featured Performance by a Male in a Musical" for his performance in Ain't Misbehavin' at the San Diego Rep. Recent directing and choreography credits include: All Shook Up (Center Rep - SFBATCC Award for Best Direction of a Musical), The Little Dog Laughed (Diversionary), Ain't Misbehavin' (Center Rep - Shellie Award for Best Direction of a Musical), Erik Ehn's The Saint Plays including Assent/Irish Love Ray (world premiere - University of San Diego). Upcoming directing/choreography credits include She Loves Me (Fall 2010) and Blues in the Night (Spring 2011), both at the Center Rep. Robert Barry is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Theatre Arts Department at the University of San Diego.

Brandon Joel Maier (Chip Tolentino) Brandon is very excited to be making his NCR debut in Spelling Bee. NCRT: No Way to Treat a Lady (Morris Understudy), I Love You Because (Swing/Assistant Director). Other credits include Into the Woods (Baker), Birds of Paradise (Homer), A Class Act (Marvin Hamlisch), The Grapes of Wrath (Jim Casy), In the Beginning (G-d), and The Musical of Musicals (Big Willy/Jutter/Bill). Brandon founded and coached the I H Pi improv team at San Diego State University. He recently completed his MFA Degree in Musical Theatre at SDSU, and is proud to be a member of the Class of 2010. Brandon would like to thank his family for their constant support.

Sarah Errington (Logainne Schwarzandgrubenierre) is excited to be working with North Coast Rep for the first time! Sarah holds a BA Degree in Theater Arts from Azusa Pacific University and has performed all over the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. Favorite roles include: Ruby (Dames at Sea), Anybodys (West Side Story), Cleo (The Most Happy Fella), Sally (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown), and Miss Flannery (Thoroughly Modern Millie). Thanks to Rae and the family for love and support. Look for her in New Village Arts upcoming production of Into the Woods as Cinderella.

Jacob Caltrider (Leaf Coneybear) For NCR: A Christmas Carol (Young Scrooge). Elsewhere: Rebels (Dennis), Old Globe Theatre; Sweeney Todd (Anthony), The History Boys (Timms), A Christmas Carol (Young Scrooge, Peter Cratchit), Cygnet Theatre; Yank! (Svenson), Twist! (Twist), The Daddy Machine (Stonewall), Diversionary Theatre; The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow(Todd), Carlsbad Playreaders.

Omri Schein* (William Barfee) Omri is happy to return to NCR where he was seen in the 2008 production of The Big Bang. San Diego credits include: When Pigs Fly (Diversionary Theatre) and Beauty and The Beast and Seussical (Moonlight Stage). Elsewhere: A Funny Thing... (Triarts, CT), Dear World (Kalliope, OH), Hell Belle's (NYC), The People Vs. Mona (both at the York Theatre and Abingdon Theatre, NYC- as well as the original cast recording.) Omri also writes musicals: Manscape (which has had two readings) and the recently completed Bedfellas. Omri has an MFA Degree in Musical Theatre from SDSU and is an adjunct faculty member at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC. Thanks to Eva Trieger for her generous hospitality.

Cashae Monya (Marcy Parks) Cashae is thrilled to be making her North Coast Rep Debut! Recent credits include: Hip Pocket (Lamb's Players Theatre), High School Musical (Starlight Theatre), Zanna, Don't! (Ariel Performing Arts) and Memphis(La Jolla Playhouse/The 5th Avenue Theatre). Cashae would like to say, "Te Amo Mucho!" to all who have given her the courage to pursue her passion fearlessly and FIERCELY. Enjoy!

Nicole Werner* (Olive Ostrovsky) Orange County High School of the Arts; BA, UCSD; MFA, SDSU; Broadway Palm Theatre: The Pajama Game (Mara). SDSU: Bat Boy (Shelley Parker), A Man of No Importance (Adele Rice). Welk Resort Theatre: 42nd Street (Peggy Sawyer), Fiddler on the Roof (Chava); South Bay CLO: Cinderella (Cinderella); Guest Artist, San Diego Chamber Orchestra; choreographer and private voice instructor. Now playing "newlywed" to hot husband, Jason!

Steven Withers (Musical Director) A San Diego native, Steven Withers, is a graduate of Point Loma High School. University of Cincinnati College/Conservatory, 1980-85. Broadway: Jane Eyre (2000-2001). Original Broadway Cast Recording: Jane Eyre (Sony Classical).Tour: An Evening With Michael Crawford (1998), 30 venues including Radio City Music Hall, Hollywood Bowl, and The View with Barbara Walters. Live CD: An Evening With Michael Crawford (Atlantic Records). Regional: Jane Eyre (La Jolla Playhouse, 1999); The Full Monty (Old Globe Theatre, 2000).Workshops: A Man Of No Importance (Lincoln Center Theater), Daddy Long Legs, John Caird, director, with David Parsons Dance, London (2002) and New York (2003). Local: Forever Plaid (Theater in Old Town, 1995-1998). Music Director: It's a Fabulous Life! (Diversionary Theatre); The Big Bang, Jacques Brel... (North Coast Rep), I Love You Because (North Coast Rep). Partnered with Marc d'Hondt since 1993.

Tom Versen (Drums/Percussion) NCR: Back to Bacharach and David, Jacques Brel, I Love you Because; San Diego Rep: Six Women with Brain Death, Always Patsy Cline, Menopause the Musical. Lamb's Players Theatre: Boomers, The Secret Garden, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Off Broadway: Suds. Thanks to all of you who support the arts, and special thanks to my friends and family. Enjoy the show...

Matt Best (Woodwinds) Matt Best is a native Iowan who settled in San Diego two years ago after traveling around the world for over five years as a Musical Director and musician for Princess Cruises. Before that, he studied jazz at University of North Texas and was a professional musician in the Dallas area. Since moving to San Diego he has worked with San Diego Junior Theatre, J*Company Youth Theatre, Moonlight Stage Productions, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Francis Parker School, and is now happy to be working with North Coast Repertory Theatre. Matt is a full-time musical instrument technician for Sweetwater UHSD.

Kevin Koppman-Gue (Understudy) Kevin Koppman-Gue is very excited to be working on this fantastic production of Spelling Bee. Credits include: Speech and Debate, Moscow (Diversionary Theatre), Into the Woods (SDSU Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (Vox Nova Theatre Company), The History Boys (Cygnet Theatre), A Streetcar Named Desire (ion theatre company), How I Learned to Drive, Everything Will Be Different (Lynx Performance) and The Winslow Boy (Lamb's Players Theatre). Kevin has also performed with 6th @ Penn, Fritz Theatre, Starlight Musical Theatre, and Sledgehammer. He would like to thank his family and friends for their continued love and support. Kevin will next appear as Chris in North Coast Rep's production of Becky's New Car.

Dave Massey (Choreographer) Dave Massey has performed in all venues of dance including dance companies, television, stage, film, and nightclub acts, working with many eminent Hollywood celebrities including Ann-Margret, Mary Tyler Moore, Lucille Ball, Dolly Parton and Debbie Allen. Dave has choreographed for musical theater, industrials, television, and his concert dance work has won several awards both nationally and internationally including the prestigious 2004 gold award for choreography from the Jazz Dance World Congress. He has taught dance at the studio, university, national, and international levels. His precise teaching and dynamic choreographic styles are in demand with schools, festivals, and companies here in the U.S. and internationally, most notably the DARC - Stage Festival Chateauroux and Festival d'Avignon, both in France. Dave is currently a full-time faculty member at MiraCosta College in Oceanside and lecturer at UC Irvine.

Marty Burnett (Scenic Design) Designs for North Coast Rep are the last 127 shows. Mr. Burnett has designed sets for the Union Plaza, Sahara, and Hacienda Hotels and Casinos in Las Vegas; Harrahs Lake Tahoe; The Claridge Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ; The Grand Hotel in Anaheim; and The Drury Lane in Chicago. Mr. Burnett is the resident designer and technical director at North Coast Rep.

Mike Buckley (Lighting Designer) Mike is pleased to be working with NCRT again, having previously designed Einstein Comes Through, The Fantasticks and last season's Jacques Brel... You can currently see Mike's set designs for Footloose at the Welk Resort Theatre, Smoke On The Mountain at the Horton Grand Theatre and Harvey at Lamb's Players Theatre. Mike has received five Patte Awards and two San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Awards.

Chris Luessmann (Sound Designer) NCR credits include: The Voice of the Prairie, Ghosts, Little Women, Glorious!, A Christmas Carol (2009), Talley's Folly, Over the Tavern, Leading Ladies, Dracula, Baby, A Shayna Maidel, A Christmas Carol, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well..., The Big Bang, Rabbit Hole, Old Wicked Songs and Don't Dress for Dinner. Off-Broadway: The Third Story (Lucille Lortel Theater). Los Angeles: George Furth's Sex, Sex, Sex... (Actor's Studio). Company (UCLA), Mourning Becomes Electra (Interact). San Diego: Long Story Short (San Diego Rep), Hay Fever, Bedroom Farce, The Magic Fire, Moon Over Buffalo, I Do! I Do!, Little Shop of Horrors, Guys and Dolls, Joseph..., and Les Misérables (Moonlight Stg. Prod.), Das Barbecu, Too Old for the Chorus and Forbidden Broadway SVU (Miracle Theatre Prod.), South Pacific (Lamb's Players Theatre), Red Herring (Scripps Ranch Theatre), Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays (La Jolla Playhouse), Full Circle, Eurydice, Blood Wedding, Labyrinth of Desire, Cabaret, Tango, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Danton's Death and The Skin of Our Teeth (UC San Diego). Chris holds a BA in Theatre from UCLA, and an MFA in Theatre from UC San Diego.

Peter Herman (Costumes/Hair/Wig Designer) Peter Herman has previously designed wigs for over 30 NCR productions including Honky Tonk Angels, Travesties, I Love You Because, Little Women and Ghosts. He has also designed costumes for past NCR productions of The Big Bang, Madagascar, and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Peter teaches wig and makeup design at San Diego State University. He is glad to be part of the creative team on this show.

Annie Bornhurst (Props and Set Dressing) North Coast Repertory Theatre: The Voice of the Prairie, Ghosts, Little Women, Glorious!, A Christmas Carol, Talley's Folley, I Love You Because, Don't Dress for Dinner, Over the Tavern, Old Wicked Songs, Rabbit Hole. Actors Circle Theatre: The View from Here. The Sanford Meisner Center: Frankie and Johnny, Babes and Brides.

Elizabeth Stephens* (Stage Manager) Elizabeth is pleased to be returning to North Coast Repertory Theatre. She has stage managed locally for the Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company. Elizabeth was the Production Stage Manager for the San Diego Symphony for four years. She has also stage managed for the Pasadena Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company and The Acting Company.

John Finkbiner (Scenic Artist) John has been a member of the NCR staff for nearly two years. His favorite shows are Halpern and Johnson, SHIPWRECKED!, The Dresser and Jacques Brel. John received his BA degree at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television in 1991. John is also an accomplished singer/songwriter and performs with his band, The Stereotypes. His music has been featured on Showtime's Californication, Fox's Bones and NBC's Knight Rider, among others. John lives with his wife Judi and his son John Gibson in Leucadia, plus Ilene and Jerry (the NCR mascots).
Aaron Rumley (Production Manager) North Coast Repertory Theatre: The Voice of the Prairie, Ghosts, Glorious!, Talley's Folly, Over the Tavern, Rabbit Hole, The Dresser, Don't Dress for Dinner, Madagascar, Mornings at Seven, String of Pearls, Dracula, Rashomon, Wit, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Leading Ladies, Collected Stories, Halpern & Johnson, Romeo and Juliet, The Bungler, The Chosen, A Life in the Theatre and The Rainmaker. North Carolina Theatre: Talley's Folly, Picnic, The Miser and On Golden Pond. Aaron received a B.A. in Theatre from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Aaron is a Member of Actors' Equity.


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