Timothy Near's Staging of Spelling Bee Begins at San Jose Rep

News   Timothy Near's Staging of Spelling Bee Begins at San Jose Rep San Jose Repertory Theatre's production of the musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee begins performances in California May 9 toward a May 15 opening.

The Tony Award-winning musical comedy by songwriter William Finn and librettist Rachel Sheinkin (who won the Best Book Tony Award for the show) is the "hilarious tale of six adolescent outsiders vying for the Spelling Bee title."

Timothy Near, Rep senior artistic advisor and former artistic director, directs. Performances play to June. 7.

"I love Spelling Bee because it is a joyful celebration of courage in children," Near stated. "The story of these 'outside-the-box' kids is charming, funny and moving. I think of this production as my loving farewell to the Rep audiences. I will miss their enthusiasm, inspirational insights in response to our plays and their commitment to support great theatre in San Jose."

Timothy Near recently concluded 21 years of service as artistic director of San Jose Repertory Theatre. During this time she developed and produced over 25 new plays, provided leadership as well as artistic and technical guidance to the design and 
 building of the Rep's new theatre facility. In the spring of 2008 she left her artistic director position to resume her career as a free lance director.

The cast includes Molly Bell as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre Marc de la Cruz as Chip, Alison Ewing as Rona Lisa Peretti, Mark Farrell as William Barfee, Berwick Haynes as Mitch Mahoney, Steve Irish as Douglas Panch, Dani Marcus as Olive Ostrovsky, Alex Moggridge as Leaf Coneybear, Sophie Oda as Marcy Park. Music direction for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is by Dolores Duran-Cefalu. Movement on stage is by chorographer by Amanda Folena.

The San Jose production team includes Robert Broadfoot (scenic designer), Shigeru Yaji (costume designer), David Lee Cuthbert (lighting and projection designer), Jeff Mockus (sound designer) and stage manager Laxmi Kumaran.

The Broadway production has its roots in an Off-Broadway show conceived by Rebecca Feldman. Jay Reiss contributed additional material.

For more information, visit www.SJRep.com or call (408) 367-7255.