(Pittsfield, MA) Can you spell h-o-m-e-c-o-m-i-n-g? Barrington Stage Company (Julianne Boyd, Artistic Director) is proud to announce that The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will return to the Berkshires to open BSC’s 14th season from June 11 through July 12, with a press opening on Sunday, June 15 at 5:00pm at Barrington Stage (30 Union Street). This production will be the first regional theatre presentation of Spelling Bee after the close of its acclaimed Broadway run in January 2008.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was created, workshopped and developed by BSC in the winter of 2004 and presented that summer (where it became the hottest ticket in the Berkshires). It opened Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre where it was an instant hit (“’A Chorus Line’ with pimples,” proclaimed The New York Times) prompting it to move to Broadway’s Circle-in-the-Square Theater. Nominated for six Tony Awards including Best Musical – it took home two 2005 Tony Awards – Best Book of a Musical for Rachel Sheinkin and Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Dan Fogler. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee recently celebrated 1,000 performances on Broadway; there has been an acclaimed national tour, even an Australian production. Barrington Stage Company’s Spelling Bee will be a co-production with North Shore Music Theatre (Beverly, MA), where it will run from August 12-31.
A hilariously hip musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee features six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learning that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser. At each performance, four audience volunteers are invited onstage to participate in the Bee.
Charles Isherwood of The New York Times called The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee “irresistible and entirely lovable,” praising William Finn’s “nimble, upbeat score,” Rachel Sheinkin’s “riotously funny” Tony Award-winning book and James Lapine’s “impeccable” direction. Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal called the show “the best in town – that rarity of rarities, a super-smart show that is also a bona fide crowd-pleaser.” David Rooney of Variety stated that, “this winning new musical is so generously warm-hearted, only the most bitter misanthrope could resist its charms.” And Michael Kuchwara of the Associated Press simply asked, “How do you spell h-i-t?”
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin and conception by Rebecca Feldman, with original direction by James Lapine and choreography by Dan Knechtges. The director, choreographer and cast of the Barrington Stage Company/North Shore Music Theatre production will be announced at a later date.
The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee will be performed at Barrington Stage Company (30 Union Street) on the following schedule: Tuesday and Wednesday at 7pm, Thursday – Saturday at 8pm, Wednesday matinees at 2pm and Sunday at 5pm. There will be no performance July 4; instead there will be a performance Monday, June 30 at 8pm. Flex Pass Subscriptions can be purchased at last year’s rate until December 31. For FlexPasses and Group Sales, please call (413) 236-8888. Flex Passes can also be purchased on line at www.barringtonstageco.org. Single tickets will go on sale in April 2008.
For more information, please visit www.barringtonstageco.org.