The New York Post maven — known for her signature line "Only in New York, kids, only in New York" — was a guest speller at the 7:30 PM show's benchmark performance.
Adams correctly spelled her first word "Jihad," but faltered on "Kinnikinnick" (Definition: A tobacco of dried leaves and bark smoked by Indians of the Great Lakes region. Used contextually in a sentence: "Puffing on his kinikinik, Chief Little Feather took in the quiet serenity of the valley and said, 'Here. Here we will put the craps table.'").
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.
As of Sept. 23, the musical had welcomed 4,000 guest spellers onstage to test their word knowledge. Among the more famous to have participated in recent shows include Broadway stars Julie Andrews, Lea Salonga, Raul Esparza and Brian Stokes Mitchell as well as Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, National Spelling Bee Champ Kelly Close, Bay Street Theatre co-founder (and Andrews' daughter) Emma Walton Hamilton and (at the 2005 Tony Awards) Al Sharpton.
The current cast features Jennifer Simard (Forbidden Broadway) as Bee coordinator Rona Lisa Perretti with 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, Jared Gertner (Anatomy 1968, My Favorite Year) as William Barfee, Sara Inbar (Mamma Mia!, Lizzie Borden) as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, Greta Lee (No Boundaries - NYMF) as Marcy Park, Daniel Pearce (King Lear, Measure for Measure) as Vice Principal Douglas Panch and James Monroe Iglehart (Showboat national tour, Memphis) as Mitch Mahoney. 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.
The work has played runs in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles (with the original cast) and is currently on the second leg of its national tour.
For more information on the musical, visit www.spellingbeethemusical.com.