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Casting Announced For San Jose Repertory's Production Of THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE

San Jose Repertory Theatre is proud to conclude its 2008-2009 season with the smash hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The Tony® award-winning musical comedy – one of Broadways most talked about hits – is in attendance at San Jose Rep. This hilarious tale of six adolescent outsiders vying for the Spelling Bee title is directed by Timothy Near. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee begins previews on May 9, opens on May 15 and closes June 7.

Tickets are available at the San Jose Rep Box Office at 101 Paseo de San Antonio or can be purchased online at or by calling (408) 367-7255.

“I love ‘Spelling Bee’ because it is a joyful celebration of courage in children. The story of these "outside-the-box" kids is charming, funny and moving,” Near remarks. “I think of this production as my loving farewell to the Rep audiences. I will miss their enthusiasm, inspirational insights in response to our plays and their commitment to support great theatre in San Jose.”

“This show is the perfect way for the Rep to end this season, and it is wonderful to have Timothy Near direct this celebratory, fun and devilish musical, the last show she selected for the Rep,” adds Artistic Director Rick Lombardo. “We are especially delighted to be one of the first regional productions of the show after its very successful Broadway run, and I know our audience will have a delicious night at the theater when they attend our ‘Bee’.”

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has music and lyrics by William Finn, who was nominated for the 2005 Tony Award® for Best Original Score. He was also 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. The book is by Rachel Sheinkin, who received the 2005 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical and 2005 Tony Award® Best Book of a Musical for “Spelling Bee.” The story is conceived by Rebecca Feldman, who was awarded a Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk and Tony Nomination for Best Musical for “Spelling Bee.” She directed its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company in 2004.

Timothy Near directs this award-winning musical comedy. During her 21-year tenure as Artistic Director of San Jose Rep, she directed many memorable productions including Iphigenia at Aulis, Major Barbara, Bad Dates, Wintertime, By the Bog of Cats…, and ‘ART.’

Music direction for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is by Dolores Duran-Cefalu. She collaborated with the Rep on Making Tracks and Thunder Knocking on the Door.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee features a cast of some of Bay Area’s favorite actors. Molly Bell (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre) has been seen in the Bay Area as Susan in Snapshots, Mary in Merrily We Roll Along, Amelia in The Little Princess and Shelley in Bat Boy: The Musical, all at TheatreWorks. She is the producer of the successful Divas For Life concert series.

Marc De La Cruz (Chip Tolentino) appeared in the Rep’s Making Tracks as Frankie/David. His tour credits include Disney’s High School Musical (first national) and the Asian tour of The Wedding Banquet.

Alison Ewing (Rona Lisa Peretti) has performed on Broadway at Studio 54, TheatreWorks, Marin Theatre Company and Playhouse West. Her other credits include Ally McBeal and Six Feet Under.

Mark Farrell (William Barfee) has performed in the Rep’s productions Around the World in 80 Days and The Haunting of Winchester. He has also worked with The Reduced Shakespeare Company, Center Rep and SF Playhouse.

Berwick Haynes (Mitch Mahoney) has performed at the California Shakespeare Festival, San Jose Stage Company, Chicago Shakespeare Festival and the Goodman Theatre.

Steve Irish (Douglas Panch) was Froggy LeSueur in The Foreigner at San Jose Rep earlier this season. He has appeared in the feature films Just Like Heaven and The Darwin Award.

Dani Marcus (Olive Ostrovsky) has been seen performing in the Bay Area at TheatreWorks and Center REP. She received a Kevin Kline Award nomination for her role as Harriet in a co-production of Emma with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Alex Moggridge (Leaf Coneybear) was last seen at the Rep as Young Dunne in By the Bog of Cats…. Also a writer, Moggridge’s play The Squirrel appeared Off-Broadway in the 2006 Summer Play Festival.

Sophie Oda (Marcy Park) has performed in various Bay Area theatres, including American Musical Theatre San Jose, Alameda Civic Light Opera and California Shakespeare Theater. She can be frequently seen on Disney Channel’s, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody as the character, “Barbara Brownstein.”

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was collaborated on by a team of talented and creative designers. Robert Broadfoot (Scenic Designer) received the Bay Area Critic’s Circle Award in scenic design for Musical of Musicals at Center Repertory in 2008 and Bot at The Magic Theatre in 2007. Broadfoot regularly assists prominent Broadway designers Douglas W. Schmidt and John Iacovelli on national productions.

Shigeru Yaji (Costume Designer) has designed costumes for nine productions at the San Jose Rep. He is the recipient of seven Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards and a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award.

David Lee Cuthbert (Lighting and Projection Designer) has done design work for several Rep productions, and his other Bay Area credits include Opera San Jose, TheatreWorks and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. He designed Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays on Broadway and its U.S., Canadian and Australian tours.

Jeff Mockus (Sound Designer) served as Resident Sound Designer for San Jose Rep from 1994-2007. He has recently done sound design for California Shakespeare Theatre, Center Repertory Theatre and Davies Symphony Hall, and he is the recipient of Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards and Dean Goodman Choice Awards. The stage manager is Laxmi Kumaran.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is sponsored by Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business, KPMG, McManis Faulkner, Hawgs Seafood Restaurant and supported, in part, by a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose.

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