Attendance Report: Broadway's Spelling Bee Gets New VP and Barfee Alternate

News   Attendance Report: Broadway's Spelling Bee Gets New VP and Barfee Alternate Tony Award winner Dan Fogler will take time off from his turn as William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee starting Oct. 25, the same day Jay Reiss leaves his post as pronouncer Vice-Principal Douglas Panch.

James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods) directs the new William Finn, Rachel Sheinkin and Rebecca Feldman musical which began previews April 15 at the Circle in the Square Theatre and opened May 2.

Fogler will leave the production briefly while he begins work on a film, according to a production spokesperson. His return date has yet to be set. Understudy Todd Buonopane will fill his "Magic Foot"-ed shoes. Reiss leaves the production to further pursue writing, having sold a screenplay, but will continue to be associated with the show and provide the (unhelpful) context sentences. Greg Stuhr replaces Reiss.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee pits 10 contestants (six actors, four audience members) against each other in a battle for the championship of the local spelling competition. The cast includes Deborah S. Craig, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sarah Saltzberg, Dan Fogler, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Jose Llana, Derrick Baskin, Lisa Howard and Jay Reiss.

David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Barrington Stage Company and Second Stage Theater present the work on Broadway by composer William Finn (Falsettos), librettist Rachel Sheinkin (Striking 12) on a concept by Rebecca Feldman. Fogler, Saltzberg and Reiss were part of the original ensemble of C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, the play on which the musical is based.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee earned six Tony Award nominations including Best Score, Best Book, Best Direction, Best Featured Actor (Dan Fogler) and Featured Actress (Celia Keenan-Bolger) as well as for the top prize of Best Musical. Fogler and book writer Sheinkin took home awards for their work. The musical recouped its initial investment of $3.5 million 18 weeks after opening on Broadway.

For more information, visit www.spellingbeethemusical.com.