Full Original Broadway Cast of Spelling Bee Reunite for Adults-Only Show, Jan. 22

News   Full Original Broadway Cast of Spelling Bee Reunite for Adults-Only Show, Jan. 22
Original cast member Jay Reiss will return to Broadway's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for the first of three special "mature-audiences-only" performances Jan. 22.

All three evening (7:30 PM) performances of the Tony Award-winning musical on Jan. 22, Feb. 5 and March 5 at the Circle in the Square will feature risque material so, according to producers, "the kids should be left home with the sitter."

Reiss, the actor who originated the role of Vice Principal Douglas Panch in the show and still provides the definitions and (unhelpful) context sentences, said in a statement, "During rehearsals, I would occasionally cross the line a bit and use some material that was pretty filthy. The cast would crack up, and director James Lapine would say, 'That is so wrong.' In October, at the first 'adults-only' Bee, we used some of that material for the first time in front of an audience. People were suitably appalled, which pleased us greatly."

The actor rejoins his original cast members in what is being billed as possibly "the last time the entire original Broadway cast performs together."

The new William Finn, Rachel Sheinkin and Rebecca Feldman musical began previews April 15 and opened May 2. James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods) directs the spellbinding showdown with the same cast from its earlier Second Stage Off-Broadway run.

* 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.

David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Barrington Stage Company and Second Stage Theater present the work on Broadway by composer William Finn (Falsettos), librettist Rachel Sheinkin (Striking 12) on a concept by Rebecca Feldman.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee 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.

The musical recouped its initial investment of $3.5 million 18 weeks after opening on Broadway.

A San Francisco run of the musical at The Post Street Theatre (starting Feb. 14) precedes a Chicago sit-down production and a national tour beginning in the fall, according to a production spokesperson.

For more information, visit www.spellingbeethemusical.com.

The original cast of <i>The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee</i>.
The original cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
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