By Mark Shenton
15 Oct 2013
It began performances at Harlow Playhouse Oct. 3 and subsequently played Croydon's Ashcroft Theatre Oct. 8-9, but the remainder of its planned tour to nine more venues has been canceled. These include dates at Barnstaple's Queen's Theatre, Birmingham's Crescent Theatre, Kettering's Lighthouse Theatre, Blackpool's Grand Theatre, High Wycombe's Swan Theatre, Jersey's Opera House, Worthing's Connaught Theatre, Liverpool's Royal Court, Crawley's The Hawth and Eastbourne's Royal Hippodrome.
In a press statement, the producers commented, "We are deeply saddened to announce that the remaining tour dates of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee have been cancelled. This difficult, yet necessary step was taken in response to circumstances beyond our control. We are so proud of the production and exceptionally thankful to everyone involved and can only offer our apologies to those ticket holders we have had to disappoint."
The company was being led by Darren Day, best known for TV's "Hollyoaks" and his appearances in the West End and on tour in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Summer Holiday and other musicals, as Vice Principal Panch, with Niki Evans, a 2007 semi-finalist on the UK's "The X Factor" who has toured as Mrs. Johnson in Blood Brothers and Paulette in Legally Blonde, as Rona Lisa Peretti.
Also in the cast were Rhys Owen as Mitch Mahoney, Ellie Mason as Olive Ovstrokvsky, Thomas Mackley as William Barfee, Janette McManus as Logainne Schwartz and Grubenierre, Arina II as Marcy Park, Ross Cobbald as Leaf Coneybear and Joshua Dowen as Chip Tolentino.
It was directed by Alex Howarth, with choreography by Kenn Oldfield and musical direction by Lee Freeman. Howarth previously directed the show for Patch of Blue Theatre Company at last year's Edinburgh Fringe. This production was presented by ASH Productions LIVE and Harlow Playhouse in association with Patch of Blue Theatre Company.