Falsettos' Finn and Lapine Reteam for 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Off-Broadway

News   Falsettos' Finn and Lapine Reteam for 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Off-Broadway
 
Falsettos collaborators, composer William Finn and director James Lapine, reteam for the new musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which begins its Off-Broadway run Jan. 11.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson in rehearsal for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson in rehearsal for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Lapine (Into The Woods, Fran's Bed) stages the work from his fellow Tony Award-winning collaborator Finn (A New Brain, Elegies: A Song Cycle). The new work will officially open Feb. 7 at Second Stage Theatre for a run currently slated through March 6.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee follows "six young people on the edge of puberty [who] strive to become adults," according to show materials. The work made its world premiere production, under the direction of Michael Unger and Rebecca Feldman, at Sheffield, Massachusetts' Barrington Stage Company in July 2004.

Flower Drum Song star Jose Llana — in the role originated by Robb Sapp (Zanna, Don't!) — joins the original Barrington cast that featured Jesse Tyler Ferguson (On the Town), Celia Keenan-Bolger (Summer of 42, The Light in the Piazza), Derrick Baskin, Deborah S. Craig, Dan Fogler, Lisa Howard, Jay Reiss and Sarah Saltzberg as the participants in the spelling showdown.

Featuring music and lyrics by Finn with a book by Rachel Sheinkin (Striking 12) from a concept by Rebecca Feldman, the musical will feature choreography by Dan Knechtges. Vadim Feichtner handles musical direction and orchestrations are by Michael Starobin. The design team includes Beowulf Boritt (scenic), Jennifer Caprio (costumes), Natasha Katz (lighting) and Dan Moses Schreier (sound). The production stage manager is Andrea Testani.

Second Stage recently co-presented the Broadway staging of Reckless (with Manhattan Theatre Club at the Biltmore Theatre) and a revival of John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (at its midtown home). The world premiere of Paul Weitz's Privilege (starting March 29, 2005) and Cheryl L. West's Birdie Blue starring "Law & Order" actress S. Epatha Merkerson (from May 31, 2005) will also fill the troupe's season. Tickets to The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Second Stage, 307 West 43rd Street (just off 8th Ave.) are on sale at the box office and by phone at (212) 246-4422 or (800) 766-6048. For more information, visit www.SecondStageTheatre.com.

The company in rehearsal for <i>The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee</i>
The company in rehearsal for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Photo by Aubrey Reuben
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