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Tony Award-winning musical comes to Stetson

Young Marcy Park (Aimee Vaughn) spelling her word with confidence and enthusiasm while the other student contestants wait with anticipation in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," presented at Stetson’s 'Second Stage' in the Museum of Florida Art. Left to right in background: Jacob Manos, Alex Schelb, Marcia Myers, Floriana Antonine, Drew Neitzey. Photo by Ken McCoy.

Get out your dictionaries! Stetson University continues its 107th theatre season with William Finn’s Tony Award winning musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The light-hearted musical comedy allows the audience to experience a spelling bee in the most lively and heartfelt way through means of song and dance. It is also Stetson University Theatre Department’s first musical since 2005.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is directed by Dr.Julie Schmitt, associate professor of Theatre and director of the Theatre Arts program, and will run for two weekends: from Nov. 1-4 and Nov. 8-11. Stetson Theatre Arts’ “Second Stage” Theatre is located in the Museum of Florida Art at 600 N. Woodland Blvd., DeLand.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a hip musical comedy which follows six young people in the throes of puberty, who are overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, as they learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser. With its enormously appealing cast of lovable misfits, nerds, and neurotics, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee hilariously captures the angst, exhilaration and heartache that make growing up so painful and so wonderful. At each performance, four audience volunteers are selected and invited on stage to participate in the Bee, making each performance unique.

“It’s been many years since we staged a musical, and both the cast and crew are very excited at the opportunity,” said Schmitt. “Personally, what I’m most excited about is the audience participation portion of this musical. Audience members are asked whether or not they would like to step on stage and try their hand at spelling words alongside the cast members. So long as they continue to spell correctly, they get to remain in the show. This element adds so much humor to an already incredibly fun musical, and I can’t wait for opening night.”

The ensemble cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee includes Jacob Manos, Dylan Mullins, Nick Pollitt, Sarah Taylor, Marcia Myers, Drew Neitzy, Olivia Moeschet, Brenna Burgess, Brianna Lancaster, Corley Groves, Rachel Markunas, Thomas Ecker, Michael Wallace, Alex Schelb, Amie Vaughn, Floriana Antonine, Kevin Serrano, Allison Cooper, Stephanie Wattigny and Orion Meades.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will be presented Nov. 1-3, and Nov. 8-10 at 8 p.m. The Sunday performances will be matinees on Nov. 4 and 11, at 3 p.m. For the hearing impaired, please note that we will have a signer at every show, performing sign language for all of the musical numbers.

Admission for each performance is $16 for adults and $14 for senior citizens and non-Stetson students. Stetson students, faculty and staff presenting valid I.D. will be admitted free of charge. Parking is free. Tickets will be available at the door, and can be purchased by either cash or check. Reserved tickets must be picked up 30 minutes prior to the start of each show. For information or reservations, call Stetson Theatre’s “Second Stage” box office at (386) 822-8700. Box office hours are from 3:30 to 5:30 every weekday afternoon from Oct. 15 through Nov. 9, and one hour prior to curtain of each performance.