Foa to Replace Ferguson in Broadway's Spelling Bee

News   Foa to Replace Ferguson in Broadway's Spelling Bee
Barrett Foa — who currently plays the lead puppeteer roles of Princeton and Rod in Avenue Q — will join the cast of Broadway's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee July 25.

Barrett Foa
Barrett Foa Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Foa will assume the role of Leaf Coneybear from original cast member Jesse Tyler Ferguson — who plays his final performance July 23.

Ferguson will appear this fall on the new CBS sitcom "The Class" opposite fellow stage folk Jason Ritter (Third), Andrea Anders (The Graduate) and Heather Goldenhersh (Doubt). The actor has also appeared on stage in On The Town, On The Twentieth Century, Where Do We Live?, Little Fish and Newyorkers.

Foa was part of the original cast of Mamma Mia! and appeared Off-Broadway as Jesus in Godspell and Cupid in Cupid and Psyche. Other credits for the University of Michigan alum include Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing (Hartford Stage) and Mordred in Camelot (Paper Mill Playhouse).

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee pits 10 contestants (six actors, four audience members) against each other in a battle for the championship of the local spelling competition.

The new 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 work which debuted at Barrington Stage Company was developed further and played Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre prior to its current run. 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.

Foa will join the current cast on Broadway which features original cast members Derrick Baskin (as Mitch Mahoney), Deborah S. Craig (Marcy Park), Lisa Howard (Rona Lisa Peretti), Celia Keenan Bolger (Olive Ostrovsky), Jose Llana (Chip Tolentino), Sarah Saltzberg (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre) with newcomers Josh Gad (as William Barfee) and Greg Stuhr (as Douglas Panch).

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 for the top prize of Best Musical. Fogler and book writer Sheinkin took home awards for their work.

Spelling Bee is in its second year on the Broadway boards and currently enjoys a San Francisco run at The Post Street Theatre and an open-ended run at Chicago's Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place. A run at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre (Aug. 23 Sept. 17) precedes the show's national tour this fall.

For more information on the musical, visit

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