The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Music and Lyrics by William Finn, Book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman

Produced by ACT of CT.
May - June 2019

Photos by Jeff Butchen (last three photos by Matthew Gurren), Set Design by Jack Mehler, Costume Design by Stephanie Levin, Lighting Design by Marika Kent.

Here’s a sizzle reel of the production:

“…an utterly delightful and hilarious production…This musical, with a book by Rachel Sheinkin and a score by William Finn, and conceived by Rebecca Feldman, is always a lot of fun, but there is certainly something special about this production. The ensemble of actors is nearly flawless, with the direction and choreography fresh and bright…A great deal of the credit goes to director Michelle Tattenbaum, whose pacing of the production is animated and sparkling, with all the jokes landing perfectly…Just about everything comes together flawlessly in this production, and it should satisfy those who have seen Spelling Bee before, as well as those who are experiencing it for the first time.”
Talkin’ Broadway, June 2019

“Under the direction of Michelle Tattenbaum, this show is highly entertaining…we are seeing something very special…the cast is absolutely magnificent…”
Broadway World, June 7, 2019

“a rousing, irresistible rendition of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee…Directed by Michelle Tattenbaum, the performance is a high energy, fast-paced myriad of teenage angst and dreams in a competitive setting that raises the stakes…a rollicking romp of a good time with a meaningful message of what really matters, delivered by a spectacular cast.”
The Newtown Bee, June 14, 2019

“Under the wonderful direction of Michelle Tattenbaum, clever gym set by Jack Mehler and animated choreography of Ilana Ransom Toeplitz, with a cast of top notch performers and words to spell like “weltanschauung” and “vug,” you are guaranteed a lively, animated and entertaining evening.”
CT Critics Circle, Bonnie Goldberg, June 2019

“…delightful…small-scale charmer…The breezy, unobtrusive direction by Michelle Tattenbaum is most welcome…In all, it’s hard to stop smiling throughout this “Spelling Bee”. Spell it: T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C!”
CT Critics Circle, Tom Holehan, June 2019

“…the production couldn’t be more perfect…Director Michelle Tattenbaum has not only pulled together a professional cast in three short weeks, but unifies the production with clever touches including the work of set designer, choreographer and costume designer…What works so well with this show is that the characters are not cardboard figures. They represent the issues young children experience while in middle school. Whether it’s a lack of self confidence, parental pressure to succeed, or sudden hormonal awareness, these young kids have a lot on their plate and the actors bring out the positives and negatives perfectly…This is one of the best productions of this show to come around.”
Ridgefield Press, June 6, 2019

“The key to mounting a successful production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is making the show fresh without sacrificing its fundamental elements. This is exactly what Director Michelle Tattenbaum and Choreographer Ilana Ransom Toeplitz have done…The show – tuneful and funny – has been festooned with just enough embellishments and flourishes to make it sparkle and seem new again…The charming, perfectly cast group of performers, is first-rate and defines an ensemble effort…a crowd-pleasing production…”
Stu on Broadway, June 8, 2019

Here’s a video of our sound mixer, Dan Gonko, running the sound board for the opening number. It’s a super fun perspective on the show, and what I particularly love about it is the stillness and focus involved in Dan’s work, in contrast to all the dynamic staging that the audience is seeing. Also, doesn’t the cast sound great?

Here is the teaser video for the production: