Playhouse Merced to run 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” a musical about six youngsters competing in a spelling contest, begins a two-weekend run at Multi-Cultural Arts Center in downtown Merced on Friday, Jan. 20, at 7:30 pm

Combining the intensity and intrigue of a real spelling contest, “Spelling Bee” has a modern musical theatre score by William Finn (“Falsettos” “My New Brain”) kid spellers played by adult actors, and performances highlighted by audience members who take the stage and compete in the bee. Winner of the Tony award for Best Book of a Musical in 2005, “Spelling Bee” ran on Broadway for almost three years. It has since spawned touring productions throughout the world.

Directed by Jim Kocher, musically directed by Joel Scott Shade, “Spelling Bee” features Central Valley actors Melissa Beckwith, Alex Hoffman, Laura Hoskins, Sergio Lopez, Meganne Ward, and Jeshamon Volkerts as the young spellers, plus Rudy Brown, Joe Hypes and Dianne Kocher as the administrators who attempt to keep control of the proceedings.

This show is rated T = Teens 13 and above for some mature situations and language “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” opens Friday, January 20, 2012 and plays two weekends through January 29, 2012 at the Multi-Cultural Arts Center 645 W. Main Street, downtown Merced. Tickets are on sale now for Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 and Sunday matinees at 2:00. Tickets prices: Adults: $20.00; Seniors: $18.00; Students: $10.00; Children: $8.00. Purchase tickets by calling (209) 725-8587, or visiting the box office at 452 West Main in downtown Merced, Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 – 5:00. Playhouse Merced is a community-based, nonprofit, 501 (c) 3 organization seeking to entertain, educate and enlighten audiences.