Tuesday, 15th May 2018, 8.00pm
Sunday, 20th May 2018, 6.00pm
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman| Book by Rachael Sheinkin| Music & Lyrics by William Finn| Additional Material by Jay Reiss| Originally Directed on Broadway by James Lapine| Directed by Fiona Vail| By arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe)
Monday, 17th September, 2018 – Saturday, 22nd September, 2018, 8.00pm
Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences worldwide with its effortless wit and humour. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this Bee is one unforgettable experience.
Played by adults, an eclectic group of six mid-pubescents compete for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home life, the tweens spell their way through a series of [potentially made-up] words hoping to never hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one winner leaves! At least the losers get a juice box.
Audition requirements: Anyone auditioning will be required to prepare a song for audition. Songs from the show are preferred but you may sing something with which you are familiar and which shows your voice at its best. Please ensure you bring a backing track as a cappella auditions will NOT be allowed. A reading will also be required and will be supplied at audition.
Please note that the parts of the teenage spellers are played by adults with no upper age limit. The minimum age to audition is 18.
An athletic, social boy scout and champion of the 24th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment. Actor also plays: Jesus Christ.
Logainne Schwartzandgrubeniere (Schwartzy)
Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. She is driven by internal and external pressure, but above all by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She is something of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp, and will be back next year.
The second runner-up in his district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the Bee incredibly amusing. He is home-schooled and comes from a large family of former hippies. He has severe Attention Deficit Disorder and spells words correctly while in a trance. Actor also plays: Carl Dad.
A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and is back for vindication. His famous “Magic Foot” method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy, bullying personality. He develops a crush on Olive.
The ultimate over-achiever, Marcy has never been given another option. She comes from a family where excellence is expected and so simply produced. A parochial school student, she assumes God, too, expects perfection. She sees herself as a mass of problems but she keeps them to herself. Having moved often because of her parents’ work, she knows she can beat the local competition. Her many talents include piano, dance, martial arts, baton twirling, and/or whatever special gifts an actor may bring to the part.
A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. Having found comfort in its words and vastness, Olive made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition. She starts enormously shy, and slowly blossoms.
Rona Lisa Peretti
The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and the returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch and his feelings for her. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and drives it forward. Actor also plays: Olive’s Mum.
The Vice Principle. Frustrated with his life, he finds the drive of the young spellers alien to him. After five years’ absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an “incident” at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in “a better place” now, thanks to a high-fibre diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.
The Official Comfort Counsellor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He has no idea how to offer comfort, but does find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better. Actor also plays: Dan Dad and Olive’s Dad.
Anyone can attend performances at Beckenham Theatre but only members can take part onstage or backstage. Be first to find out more about this production – become a member of Beckenham Theatre for just £25 a year!