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“Laughter rocked the house and spontaneous applause broke out often.

A standing ovation ensued, and the audience left in great good humor.”

– Andrea Braun, KDHX-FM

“An over the top delight. New Line Theatre's current production is

a perfectly cast show  filled with moments of high hilarity. . .

I can't remember when I've laughed so hard and so long at a show.”

 – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

“This Spelling Bee radiates the goofy, familiar charm of

a sketch comedy show that you try not to miss.”

– Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Do you ever feel like the pressure to succeed is just too great? Like you just might lose your job to the brown-noser in the next cubicle, like everything you are is wrapped up in whether or not you get that next raise or promotion? And when you remember back to your childhood, does it seem like it wasn't really any better back then...?


New Line Theatre's 18th season
closes July 16-August 8, 2009, with the first St. Louis production of the hit Broadway musical comedy, THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, with a book by Rachel Sheinkin and music and lyrics by William Finn (Falsettos, A New Brain), based on C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, an original play created by Rebecca Feldman and performed by The Farm, a New-York-based improvisational comedy troupe.

The show places us at an actual spelling bee -- surely among the fiercest and cruelest of America's gladiatorial arenas -- complete with a few audience members among the spellers. But underneath the sharp, biting comedy, there's an insightful, sometimes difficult look at the dark side of American ambition and competitiveness, and the insecurities and fears we all face every day. We are these kids, we finally realize, always being tested one more time, never able to rest on our laurels. You'll laugh your ass off and then spend the next week on your therapist's couch.

The New York Times wrote about the show, "It's the more private but enduring triumphs -- the connection finally made with a member of the opposite sex, the discovery of previously unknown pockets of self-esteem -- that are really being celebrated. . . . Spelling Bee is not extravagant in its aims, but it lives up to its goals in a way that the season's bigger, glitzier and more ambitious musicals mostly don't. Gold stars all around!" The Boston Globe said, "Spelling Bee has everything a rollicking musical should have: wit and grace, heart and soul, charm and a bit of a bite." SPELLING BEE won two Tony Awards, two Theatre World Awards, and three Drama Desk Awards. After the show's run at the Fox Theatre in 2007, New Line will now offer local audiences a chance to see the show in the kind of intimate setting it was written for.  "Spelling Bee," New Line Theatre, 2009. Photo Credit: Jill Ritter

The New Line cast includes Aaron Allen (as Leaf Coneybear), Emily Berry (Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre), Brian Claussen (Douglas Panch), Mike Dowdy (Chip Tolentino), Nicholas Kelly (William Barfée), Alexis Kinney (Marcy Park), Katie Nestor (Olive Ostrovsky), John Rhine (Mitch Mahoney), and Deborah Sharn (Rona Lisa Peretti).

Scott Miller directs the show, with choreography by Robin Michelle Berger, set by Todd Schaefer, lighting by Kenneth Zinkl, costumes by Amy Kelly, and props by Trisha Bakula.


Want to explore more? We recommend:

The original 2005 Broadway cast album of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The official Spelling Bee website and the site's own interactive spelling bee

The New Line blogs about the process of putting this show on its feet --

Trisha Bakula's Blog | Leaf Coneybear's Blog | Scott Miller's Blog

The excellent documentary Spellbound

A fascinating 2007 interview with composer William Finn about why he took on this project

An interesting 2005 article examining spelling bees as a part of our American culture, the competitiveness, the parental pressure, etc.

A cool essay about spelling bees and their cultural meaning, "The Capitalization of Intelligence"

A great New York Times article, "How We Took the Child Out of Childhood"

The official Scripps National Spelling Bee website and the Scripps official spelling bee study site

An online do-it-yourself spelling bee and the AOL online spelling bee using "official" words

Click here to find out about New Line's Free Seats

SPELLING BEE runs July 16-August 8, 2009, Thurs. through Sat. evenings, all at 8:00 p.m., at at the former CBC High School Theatre, now renamed the Washington University South Campus, 6501 Clayton Road, just east of Big Bend. July 16 is a preview. 

Tickets are on sale now at all Metrotix outlets -- $15 for adults and $10 for students/seniors on Thursdays; and $20 for adults and $15 for students/seniors on Fridays and Saturdays. To charge tickets by phone, call Metrotix at 314-534-1111 or visit any Metrotix outlet or the Metrotix website.

EDUCATORS DISCOUNT: New Line offers all currently employed educators half price tickets on any Thursday night, with work ID or other proof of employment. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

MILITARY DISCOUNT: New Line offers all active duty military personnel half price tickets on any Thursday night, with ID or other proof of active duty status. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

This show contains adult content. All programs subject to change. New Line Theatre receives funding from the Regional Arts Commission, the Fox Associates Charitable Foundation, and the Missouri Arts Council.


Special low $10 prices for students and seniors

for all Thursday performances!

With ticket prices rising everywhere else,

New Line has lowered our Thursday night tix!

Come join us!


The Spelling Bee trophy has been provided courtesy of