Preview: 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

EDINBURGH University Theatre Company desert their traditional home at the Bedlam Theatre this week, as they present the Tony Award-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, at the Roxy Assembly, on Roxburgh Place.

Edinburgh University Theatre Company. Pic: Comp
Edinburgh University Theatre Company. Pic: Comp

The musical follows six kids as they attempt to spell their way to the ultimate prize.

The Putnam County Spelling Bee has returned for its 25th year and for the six young competitors, winning it means everything. Supervised by Rona Perretti, one time champion of the Bee and with the troubled Vice Principal Douglas Panch at the microphone, the six competitors must struggle with spelling their words, the unfortunate timing of puberty and with balancing their own ambitions with the expectations of their families.

Throughout this funny, charming, one-act show, members of the audience are called to participate alongside the cast until the Champion of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is crowned... and it could be you.

Director Becca Simmonds explains, “I love audience participation and Putnam gives so much scope for that. At the start of every show four guest spellers are asked to come up on stage and participate in the Bee.

“This involves having to spell words, interacting with the characters on stage.

“The characters have the power to make you fall in love with them and break your heart all while inducing the kind of laughter that makes your stomach muscles ache.”


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Co-director Jimi Mitchell adds, “It’s always been a dream of mine to explore Spelling Bee, ever since I saw the Tony performance in 2005.

“It seemed totally new and fresh and this whole idea of ‘guest spellers’ was really exciting to me.

“There’s an amazing set of performers currently studying in Edinburgh at the moment so it seemed like the perfect time to do the show justice.”

Those performers include Roz Ford, Henry Conklin, Jay Cameron, Campbell Keith, Nitai Levi, Scott Meenan, Rachael Anderson, Sarah Couper and Kate Maria Pasola.

Catch them spelling their way to fame at the Roxy until Friday.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Assembly Roxy Upstairs, Roxburgh Place, tomorrow and Friday, 7.30pm, £8, tickets on the door