Rocca — a special correspondent to "The Tonight Show" (and formerly of "The Daily Show") — will now continue his role as Bee word pronouncer, Vice Principal Douglas Panch, through June 10.
He and actress Jennifer Simard joined the musical April 17 with a new cast that included members from the San Francisco and Boston runs of Spelling Bee and Jared Gertner (Anatomy 1968, My Favorite Year).
Simard — comedic actress seen Off-Broadway in Forbidden Broadway and The Thing About Men — reprises her turn from the national tour as Bee coordinator Rona Lisa Perretti.
The current cast also features Aaron J. Albano (Wicked national tour, Bombay Dreams) as Chip Tolentino, Stanley Bahorek (Big River national tour, A Little Night Music) as Leaf Coneybear, Jenni Barber (Henry and Mudge, The High Life) as Olive Ostrovsky, Sara Inbar (Mamma Mia!, Lizzie Borden) as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, Greta Lee (No Boundaries - NYMF) as Marcy Park and James Monroe Iglehart (Showboat national tour, Memphis) as Mitch Mahoney.
Rocca — who has also been seen on CBS' "Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood," NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!," MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and Food Network's "Iron Chef America" — has some stage experience. He starred and co-adapted the 2005 San Francisco Symphony productions of Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing and Let 'em Eat Cake and appeared in the Southeast Asia tour of Grease as Doody. *
The musical directed by James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods) opened on Broadway May 2, 2005, at the Circle in the Square Theatre following previews from April 15.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee pits ten contestants (six actors, four audience members) against each other in a battle for the championship of the local spelling competition.
Spelling Bee was based on C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, an original play created by Rebecca Feldman and the comedy troupe The Farm. Composer-lyricist William Finn provides the score to the musical incarnation with a book by librettist Rachel Sheinkin.
The musical 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 a nomination for the top prize of Best Musical. Fogler and book writer Sheinkin took home awards for their work.
For more information on the musical, visit www.spellingbeethemusical.com.