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High Point Community Theatre brings hilarious, interactive “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” to Centennial Station February 23-26

pic 2 Spellers in Bee

The contestants of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” patiently wait for their turn to shine in “The Bee”. From left to right (top row): Rachel Cumberland, Tori Seals, Alex Acuff, Jackson Barnes; (bottom row) Graham Harrington and Cory Jones.

High Point Community Theatre will present its third production of the 2016/17 season February 23-16 at Centennial Station Arts Center.

The Tony award-winning Broadway hit musical comedy, THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, is a hilarious tale of six overachieving middle school outsiders, competing in the spelling championship of a lifetime. In addition to all the usual adolescent angst and awkwardness, these tenacious ‘tweens must also cope with the so-called ‘grown-ups’ overseeing them. The show even manages to take a tongue-in-cheek look at a variety of social issues, such as absentee parents, bullying, gender discrimination, and marriage equality, but it’s all in good fun. In the end, the oddball spelling champions of Putnam County and their amazing collection of quirky songs will have audiences laughing with delight, while they teach us that winning isn’t everything, and that not coming in first doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.

Pic 1 Chip in Bee

Chip (played by Alex Acuff) shares the story of his last Spelling Bee defeat with his co-contestants.

The New York Times called THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE “I-r-r-e-s-is-t-i-b-l-e!” and USA TODAY exclaimed it is “A winning experience for everyone!” The Wall Street Journal raved the production “…perfect in every possible way – that rarity of rarities, a super-smart musical that is also a bona fide crowd-pleaser. An ingenious blend of simplicity and sophistication, it’s not merely funny, it’s wise.” Featuring witty and endearing music and lyrics by William Finn and a delightful book by Rachel Sheinkin, THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE became an instant success Off-Broadway and later ran on Broadway for three years. It was nominated for six Tony Awards in 2005, including Best Musical, and won two, including the award for Best Book of a Musical.

High Point production director Jordan Beswick says the show is an exceptional vehicle in which to explore character. “It’s hysterically funny, but the characters and their stories will touch your heart,” said Beswick. “It’s not very often that you find a show that explores both ends of the theatrical spectrum”.

HPCT Preseidnet Allison Seals says that the play incorporates audience volunteer spellers, and allows for quite a bit of improvisation. “Audience members will never see the same show twice,” said Seals.

All performances will be at Centennial Station Arts Center (121 S. Centennial Street., High Point) February 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 PM and February 26 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are on sale at www.hpct.net or can be purchased at the door. Ticket prices range from $18 to $22. THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE is rated PG-13 for some adult language and situations.

High Point Community Theatre is 501c3 non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers. This is HPCT’s 41st year of bringing quality live theatre to High Point and the surrounding areas. HPCT will present Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at High Point Theatre May 4-7.

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