"THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE" OPENS MARCH 14, 2014

FORD’S THEATRE SOCIETY PRESENTS

THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE

MARCH 14-MAY 17, 2014

MUSIC AND LYRICS BY WILLIAM FINN
BOOK BY RACHEL SHEINKIN
CONCEIVED BY REBECCA FELDMAN; ADDITIONAL MATERIAL BY JAY REISS
MUSIC DIRECTION BY CHRISTOPHER YOUSTRA
CHOREOGRAPHED BY MICHAEL BOBBITT
DIRECTED BY PETER FLYNN

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ford’s Theatre Society 2013-2014 season continues with the quirky Tony-winning musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, directed by Peter Flynn, March 14 through May 17, 2014, at Ford’s Theatre (511 Tenth Street NW, Washington, D.C.). The production features a local Washington cast of Helen Hayes Award nominees as six awkward adolescents and their proctors, all working through a daunting and hilarious championship quest.

In Spelling Bee, six pubescent students navigate their county’s spelling tournament with anxiety, angst and determination. As the competitors progress with the help of definitions, mnemonic devices and toe-tapping tricks, they discover a new sense of belonging and learn that there is more to life than winning a trophy. This charming coming-of-age tale also invites four volunteers from the audience to participate in each performance, ensuring new and unexpected comedy every night.

“Whether you’re in eighth grade or age 48, there is something in Spelling Bee that will remind you who you are or who you once were,” said Director Peter Flynn. “While delighting audiences with a heap of amusing music and colorful characters, Spelling Bee has a magical way of making audiences rediscover that there’s something worth rooting for in all of us.”

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is made possible by Lead Sponsor Altria Group and Sponsor Raytheon Company. Media Partner ABC-7/NewsChannel8/WJLA.com provides promotional support throughout the run. The 2013-2014 season sponsors are The Home Depot and Chevron.

THE DIRECTOR

Peter Flynn returns to direct at Ford’s for the first time since the record-breaking production of 1776. Flynn also previously directed the February 2009 Grand Reopening Celebration of Ford’s Theatre featuring James Earl Jones, Audra McDonald, Richard Thomas, Ben Vereen and others. Flynn has directed the Actors’ Fund Broadway concerts of Our Town, featuring Blythe Danner, On the 20th Century, Chess and Funny Girl; and the Off-Broadway productions of Two Rooms (Lion Theatre) and the Lucille Lortel Award-nominated Henry and Mudge and Junie B. Jones for TheatreWorks, among others. His regional directing credits include productions of Barrio Grrl! (Kennedy Center), Sleuth, The Piano Lesson, Gypsy, Guys and Dolls and The Crucible. He also directed A Child’s Christmas in Wales for the National Theatre for the Deaf. While Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY, Flynn directed the world premiere of Tim Pinckney’s Ever So Humble, as well as productions of Lend Me A Tenor, Dirty Blonde, Man of LaMancha and David Mamet’s November. Flynn is Director of the Musical Theatre Program at Stella Adler Studio and serves on the faculty of New York University.

THE CAST

The cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee includes Carolyn Agan (Olive Ostrovsky), Matthew A. Anderson (Vice Principal Douglas Panch), Felicia Curry (Marcy Park), Kristen Garaffo (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere), Vincent Kempski (Chip Tolentino), Kevin McAllister (Mitch Mahoney), Vishal Vaidya (William Barfee), Nickolas Vaughan (Leaf Coneybear) and Rachel Zampelli (Rona Lisa Perretti), with Maggie Donnelly and Clark Young.

THE DESIGNERS

Peter Flynn’s design team includes Choreographer Michael Bobbitt (1776, Black Pearl Sings!); Music Director Christopher Youstra (Little Shop of Horrors); Scenic Designer Court Watson (Liberty Smith, Little Shop of Horrors); Costume Designer Wade Laboissonniere (Violet; Hello, Dolly!; 1776; Parade; Liberty Smith; others); Lighting Designer Nancy Schertler (1776; Broadway’s Largely New York) and Sound Designer David Budries (Violet; Hello, Dolly!; Our Town; 1776; Parade; others). Spelling Bee also features Wig and Makeup Design by Anne Nesmith (Violet, Our Town, Necessary Sacrifices, Parade, others). The production team also includes Production Stage Manager Craig A. Horness and Assistant Stage Manager Taryn Friend.


SPECIAL PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS

March 20 through April 20, you can challenge Ford’s Theatre cast, crew and staff on the popular mobile and Facebook app Words with Friends. To start a game, simply challenge username FordsTheatre from the main menu. All winning challengers receive a discount for select performances of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Learn more here.

Following the 7:30 p.m. performances on March 29 and May 3, talk theatre with fellow fans of the show as well as cast members, who will be on hand to share their stories. This Meet and Mingle event takes place at the restaurant Bistro D’Oc, located just across the street from Ford’s Theatre. A cash bar will be available. Tickets to the March 29 and May 3 performances are not required. Read more here.

There will be audio-described performances of Spelling Bee on Tuesday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 3, at 2 p.m. A sign-interpreted performance is Thursday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. A captioned performance is Saturday, May 10, at 2 p.m.

Ford’s Theatre Society
One of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital, Ford’s Theatre reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Operated through a partnership between Ford’s Theatre Society and the National Park Service, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s ideals and leadership principles: courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression.

The Ford’s Theatre Society was founded under the guidance of executive producer Frankie Hewitt, who, during her 35-year tenure, established Ford’s as a living, working theatre producing performances that highlighted the diversity of the American experience. Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics and the theatregoing public have recognized Ford’s for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Meet John Doe, The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Liberty Smith and Necessary Sacrifices, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. Under the leadership of Wayne R. Reynolds, Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus (Chairman 2007 to 2012), the mission of Ford’s Theatre Society expanded to include education as a central pillar. This expansion led to the creation and construction of the Center for Education and Leadership, which opened in February 2012. Currently, under the leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman Eric A. Spiegel, Ford’s enters a second phase of strategic planning to ensure the organization’s place as a national destination for exploring Lincoln’s legacy and the American experience through the intersection of history, performance and education.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Beyea at lbeyea@fords.org

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FACT SHEET:

THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY WILLIAM FINN; BOOK BY RACHEL SHEINKIN
CONCEIVED BY REBECCA FELDMAN; ADDITIONAL MATERIAL BY JAY REISS
MUSIC DIRECTION BY CHRISTOPHER YOUSTRA; CHOREOGRAPHED BY MICHAEL BOBBITT
DIRECTED BY PETER FLYNN
MARCH 14-MAY 17, 2014

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee follows six awkward adolescents through their daunting and hilarious championship quest. As they navigate the tournament’s pressures, the eccentric coterie finds a new sense of belonging. Along the way, they learn that there is more to life than winning a trophy. This charming coming-of-age tale also invites four volunteers from the audience to participate in each performance, ensuring new and unexpected comedy every night. The Wall Street Journal raved “Putnam County is that rarity of rarities, a super smart-show that is also a bona fide crowd-pleaser.”

DATES:March 14 to May 17, 2014
Private Donor Performance: March 19, 2014
Media Performance: March 28 at 7:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Ford’s Theatre is located at 511 10th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
(between E and F Streets).

TIMES: Mondays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (except April 21); matinees on Fridays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. (except March 14, 21, May 2 and 9); Noon matinees May 2 and 9.

There will be audio-described performances of Spelling Bee on Tuesday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 3, at 2 p.m. Sign-interpreted performance is Thursday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. Captioned performance is Saturday, May 10, at 2 p.m.

TICKETS: Tickets start at $18. Discounts are available for groups, senior citizens, military personnel and those younger than 35.

PARKING: Paid parking is available at several independent neighborhood garages: the 24-hour QuickPark at the Grand Hyatt (entrance on 10th Street between G and H Streets NW), the Central Parking Garage (entrance on 11th Street between E and F Streets NW), and the Atlantic Garage below Ford’s Theatre (at 511 10th Street, NW).

METRO: Metro Center station (Red, Blue and Orange Lines) is two and one half blocks north of the theatre from the Eleventh Street exit. Gallery Pl-Chinatown station (Red, Yellow and Green Lines) is two and one half blocks north of the theatre from the G Street exit. For further information, call Metro at (202) 637-7000.

ACCESSIBILITY: Ford’s Theatre is accessible to persons with disabilities, offering wheelchair-accessible seating and restrooms, and audio enhancement.

Tickets at www.fords.org and Ticketmaster: (800) 982-2787 
Information: (202) 347-4833 Groups: (202) 638-2367

Ford’s Theatre on Twitter: @fordstheatre
Ford’s Theatre on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fordstheatre