Thursday, October 17, 2019

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Winner of a Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is one unforgettable experience.

An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of outlandish words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! The losers get a juice box. A riotous ride, complete with audience participation, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a delightful den of comedic genius!

From the start I was rooting for a young girl who hoped her father would come to the bee, but he never showed. Her love of words and bravery to be a part of the bee despite not having the $25 entry fee won my heart. One boisterous kid made his own outfits and had a cape shaped like a leaf. A rigid straight-faced young asian girl spelled each word with absolute surety, but realized she was not really living her childhood and misspelled a word on propose feeling absolute joy in the defiant act. Another young speller had a magic foot that he used to trace out the spelling of the word on the stage before him. There is something very fun about watching actors relive their childhoods.

I was laughing the whole time. I am not the greatest speller. Vowels seem to blend together for me and subtle spelling rules are a mystery to me other than, "I before E except after C." Every article I write must have at least 5 spelling mistakes and I just hope the computer spell check, or Pam, can keep things from getting too weird.

Tonight is the last performance. Stop out and see this show if you love to laugh. I left feeling elated and ready to take on life's next challenge. This was a fun night of theater.

Tickets are $25 to $35. Tonight's performance is at 8pm at the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts 445 S. Magnolia Avenue Orlando, FL 32801.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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