‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ Coming to River Campus



Feb. 18, 2009 – Phoenix Entertainment is pleased to announce that the Tony Award-winning musical comedy “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,”  will be performed at 7:30 p.m. April 2 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall located in the Cultural Arts Center at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus. 

“Spelling Bee” is directed by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winner James Lapine, (“Sunday in the Park with George,” “Into the Woods”) who also directed the Broadway production.  The musical, conceived by Rebecca Feldman, with additional material written by Jay Reiss, features music and lyrics by Tony Award-winner William Finn (“Falsettos,” “Elegies,” “A New Brain”) and a Tony Award-winning book by Rachel Sheinkin.  “Spelling Bee” features scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Jennifer Caprio, lighting design by Charlie Morrison, sound design by Craig Cassidy and choreography by Dan Knechtges.

In “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.  This tuneful, offbeat and at times heartwarming show offers audience members the opportunity (strictly voluntary) to become part of the action as on-stage spellers.  “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.  In the Wall Street Journal, “Spelling Bee” was called, “perfect in every possible way – that rarity of rarities, a super-smart musical that is also a bona fide crowd-pleaser. An ingenious blend of simplicity and sophistication, it’s not merely funny, it’s wise.” 

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is based on “C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E,” an original play by The Farm improv group in New York City.  “Spelling Bee” had its world premiere production in July 2004 at Barrington Stage Company, Sheffield, Mass.  Under the direction of James Lapine, “Spelling Bee” officially opened off-Broadway on Feb. 7, 2005, at Second Stage Theatre, where it ran from Jan. 11 through March 20, 2005.  The show then moved to Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre, with previews beginning on April 15, 2005 and an official opening on May 2, 2005.  The Broadway production closed Jan. 20, 2008.  “Spelling Bee” is produced by Phoenix Entertainment.

Tickets Tickets

May be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651–2265. Tickets also may be purchased at all MetroTix outlets, visit online at MetroTix.com, keyword “spelling,” or call toll free (800) 293-5949.