Auditions for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Sunday, August 21, 1 - 4 pm and Monday, August 22, 6 to 9 pm
Nicolet College Theatre
Lakeside Center - Rhinelander campus

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman
Additional Material by Jay Reiss
Music and Lyrics by William Finn
Book by Rachel Sheinkin 

Performance Dates: November 4-6 and 10-13

Auditions for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will take place Sunday, August 21 afternoon from 1 to 4 pm and Monday, August 22 evening from 6 to 9 pm in the Nicolet College Theatre located in the Lakeside Center on the Rhinelander campus. 

As always, everyone is welcome to audition. Those interested do not need any acting experience and they do not need to be Nicolet students. No preparation is required, but actors are typically better prepared if they have read the script beforehand. Interested individuals need to audition only one night but may elect to attend both nights. The auditions will consist of cold readings from the script, some improvisation and singing. Actors are invited to sing an excerpt from any song to sing a capella or can bring a karaoke backing track. 

Selections from the original Broadway cast recording can be accessed here:

Scripts are available for a three-day checkout from the service desk on the third floor of the Richard J. Brown Library, located in the Lakeside Center.
Roles will be available for at least nine actors. 

Cast members can expect rehearsals to start on September 6th. The rehearsal schedule will be comprised of weekday evening rehearsals, held from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There will be three to four rehearsals a week, until tech week begins on October 30th.

Public performances are scheduled for November 4-6 and 10-13, with Sunday performances at 2 p.m. and all others at 7:30 p.m.

Anyone with questions can contact Director K. Woodzick at 360.969.2565 or


Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is one unforgettable experience.

An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get a juice box.

A riotous ride, complete with audience participation, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a delightful den of comedic genius and a fast-paced crowd pleaser.

Character Descriptions: 

The Spellers: 

William Barfee (Tenor)

A Putnam County Spelling Bee finalist last year, he was eliminated because of an allergic reaction to peanuts and is back for vindication. His famous "Magic Foot" method of spelling has boosted him to spelling glory, even though he only has one working nostril and a touchy, bullying personality. He develops a crush on Olive.

Olive Ostrovsky (Mezzo-Soprano)

A young newcomer to competitive spelling. Her mother is in an ashram in India, and her father is working late, as usual, but he is trying to come sometime during the bee. Having found comfort in its words and vastness, Olive made friends with her dictionary at a very young age, helping her to make it to the competition. She starts enormously shy, and shyly blossoms.

Charlito “Chip” Tolentino (Tenor)

An athletic, social, boy scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, he returns to defend his title, but he finds puberty hitting at an inopportune moment.

Leaf Coneybear (Tenor)

The second runner-up in his district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the bee incredibly amusing. He is home-schooled and comes from a large family of former hippies. He has severe Attention Deficit Disorder and spells words correctly while in a trance.

Logainne “Schwartzy” Schwartzandgrubenierre (Mezzo-Soprano)

Logainne is the youngest and most politically aware speller, often making comments about current political figures. She is driven by internal and external pressure, but above all by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She is somewhat of a neat freak, speaks with a lisp, and will be back next year.

Marcy Park (Mezzo-Soprano) 

The ultimate over-achiever, Marcy has never been given another option. She comes from a family where excellence is expected and so simply produced. A parochial school student, she assumes God, too, expects perfection. She sees herself as a mass of problems but she keeps them to herself. Having moved often because of her parents' work, she knows she can beat the local competition. Her many talents include piano, dance, martial arts, baton twirling, and/or whatever special gifts you can find in your casting pool.


The Adults: 

Rona Lisa Peretti (Mezzo-Soprano)

The number-one realtor in Putnam County, a former Putnam County Spelling Bee Champion herself, and the returning moderator. She is a sweet woman who loves children, but she can be very stern when it comes to dealing with Vice Principal Panch and his feelings for her. Her interest in the competition is unflagging and drives it forward.

Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Does not need to sing--must be comfortable with a substantial amount of improvisation)

Frustrated with his life, he finds the drive of the young spellers alien to him. After five years' absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an "incident" at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but he claims to be in "a better place" now, thanks to a high-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. He is infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return his affections.

Mitch Mahoney (Tenor)

The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing his community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. He has no idea how to offer comfort, but does find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better.

The Parents: (Please note: these roles are traditionally doubled as listed below--depending on auditions, we may honor the original doubling or open these roles up to increase the cast size.) 

Carl Dad

Schwarzy's main trainer, the more intense and competitive of Schwarzy's fathers. Normally played by actor playing Leaf.

Dan Dad

The more laid back and ineffectual of Schwarzy's fathers. Normally played by the actor playing Mitch.

Leaf's Family

All more academically gifted than Leaf, they are even more surprised than he is by his success. Normally played by the spellers and audience volunteers as indicated in the script.

Olive's Dad

A fantasy version of Olive's dad coming to the bee from work. Normally played by the actor playing Mitch.

Olive's Mom

A fantasy version of Olive's mom at her Ashram in India. Normally played by the actor playing Rona.

Jesus Christ

Deity invoked by a speller in need. Normally played by the actor playing Chip.