Hugs and Plenty of Laughs! Go Inside the Big Spelling Bee Anniversary After-Party With Original Cast Members

News   Hugs and Plenty of Laughs! Go Inside the Big Spelling Bee Anniversary After-Party With Original Cast Members
Original cast members of the hit Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee reunited for a special one-night-only ten-year anniversary concert July 6 at The Town Hall in New York. Here's a look at the after party, held at John's Pizzeria.

Performers included Derrick Baskin, Deborah S. Craig, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dan Fogler, Lisa Howard, Jose Llana, Jay Reiss and Sarah Saltzberg. Jenni Barber, who took over the role of Olive on Broadway, is stepping in for new mom Celia Keenan-Bolger.

The evening also featured celebrity guest spellers, who will attempt to beat Putnam County’s spelling legends, including Chip Tolentino, William Barfee and Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre.

James Lapine and Darren Katz directed the concert, which has musical direction Vadim Feichtner and Carmel Dean.

The Actors Fund produced with Natalie Gershtein as line producer. The evening benefit the Fund’s Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and is being held in memory of Andrea “Spook” Testani Gordon, the production stage manager of the original Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, who passed away Nov. 30, 2014, following a battle with cancer.

Spelling Bee features book by Rachel Sheinkin, music and lyrics by William Finn and original direction by Lapine. Based on “C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E,” an original play by The Farm, the production was conceived by Rebecca Feldman and featured additional material by Jay Reiss. It premiered on Broadway May 2, 2005, following sold-out runs at Second Stage Theatre and the Barrington Stage Company.

The musical was nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and won two: Best Book of a Musical (Rachel Sheinkin) and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Dan Fogler). The production ran for nearly three years closing Jan. 20, 2008, after playing 1,136 performances.

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