THE PUTNAM COUNTY 25TH ANNUAL SPELLING BEE
Directed by Robin Stoker and Karen Mills
Music Directed by Christian Drollinger
Winner of the 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 and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is one unforgettable experience. A riotous ride, complete with audience participation, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a delightful den of comedic genius.
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 (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get a juice box.
Thank you for your interest in the upcoming production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A LIVE PRODUCTION THAT WILL BE PRODUCED INDOORS AT THE CORALVILLE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS. This is a socially distanced production, produced under health protocols as put forth by the City of Coralville. Everyone involved with the production will wear masks at all times, even during the performance. Audience members are also required to wear masks and seating will be socially distanced. There will be three performances. If you audition, you must be able to commit to this.
- Friday, June 25, 7:30 PM.
- Saturday, June 26, 7:30 PM.
- Sunday, June 27, 2:00 PM.
If you audition you must be able to commit to the rehearsal process. Rehearsals run Sunday – Thursday from 7pm to 9:30 pm. Not all actors will be called to all rehearsals. Rehearsals start Sunday, May 9th. Tech week begins with loading in the set on Saturday, June 19th at 8:00 AM and we will have tech rehearsals that evening through Thursday, June 24th. There will be occasional absences permitted but not during tech week. Please list all conflicts on your audition form.
Auditions will be submitted online through YouTube to ensure everyone’s safety. Submissions will be accepted until the end of the day on April 26, 2021.
Please submit a song that shows off your voice and you enjoy singing. We recommend choosing:
- A song featured in the show.
- An up-tempo musical theatre song that fits the style of a song in the show.
We want to make this process as accessible to everyone as possible, so if you have questions please do not hesitate to ask. Instructions for uploading videos to YouTube can be found at the bottom of this page.
PLEASE ENSURE YOUR VIDEO IS LISTED AS UNLISTED, NOT PRIVATE, OR WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO VIEW IT.
- DO include your name in the title of the video.
- DOstate your name at the beginning of your video and tell us what song you will be singing.
- DO keep your audition brief — a minute or so is plenty of material!
- DO tell a story with the lyrics and melody of the song. How does the song build?
- DO make sure your video’s privacy is set to UNLISTED and not PRIVATE.
- DON’T worry about video production quality. If we can see and hear you, you’re fine!
After you create your YouTube video, please fill out our audition form and attach a link to the video on the form.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR UPLOADING YOUTUBE VIDEOS
- Launch the YouTube app and sign in.
- Tap the video camera at the top of the app.
- Record a new video or select a video you already have on your phone.
- Add a title and description to the video.
- (Optional) Edit your video:
- Add music (from YouTube’s free audio library) to your video.
- Choose and add a visual filter to your video.
- Trim your video (change the start and end times).
- Tap Upload.
How to upload a video from your phone to Youtube tutorial link.
An athletic, social, boy scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment.
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 somewhat 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.
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 you can find in your casting pool.
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 shyly 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.
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-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.
The Official Comfort Counselor. 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.
A Note on Doubling :
The doubling of roles as listed below is built into the original premise:
Schwarzy’s main trainer, the more intense and competitive of Schwarzy’s fathers. Normally played by the actor playing Leaf.
the more laid back and ineffectual of Schwarzy’s fathers. Normally played by the actor playing Mitch.
Deity invoked by a speller in need. Normally played by the actor playing Chip.
Leaf’s Mom, Dad, And Siblings
All more academically gifted than Leaf, they are even more surprised than he is by his success. Normally played by the spellers and audience volunteers as indicated in the script.
A fantasy version of Olive’s dad coming to the bee from work. Normally played by the actor playing Mitch.
A fantasy version of Olive’s mom at her Ashram in India. Normally played by the actor playing Rona.