The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical comedy with music and lyrics by William Finn, a book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman with additional material by Jay Reiss.
The show centers on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the Bee, run by three equally quirky grown-ups.
An unusual aspect of the show is that four real audience members are invited on stage to compete in the spelling bee alongside the six young characters. Another amusing aspect of the show is that the official pronouncer, usually an improv comedian, provides ridiculous usage-in-a-sentence examples when asked to use words in a sentence.
At some shows, adult-only audiences (over age 16) are invited for “Parent-Teacher Conferences,” also known as “adult night at the Bee.” These performances are peppered with sexual references and profanity inspired by R-rated ad-libs made during rehearsals.