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Drexel Players Open Season with Spelling Bee

October 18, 2012

The musical comedy “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” one of the most popular musicals of the last decade, will be presented by the Drexel Players from Nov. 9-18 at Drexel University’s Mandell Theater (33rd and Chestnut Streets). The show will open the 2012-2013 season for the Drexel Players, a student-run theater organization in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.

The one-act show, which The Wall Street Journal has called a “rarity of rarities, a super-smart show that is also a bona fide crowd pleaser…an ingenious blend of simplicity and sophistication,” centers on a fictional spelling bee in the geographically ambiguous Putnam County Middle School. Six eccentric preteens compete in the spelling bee run by three equally quirky adults. An unusual aspect of the show is that four real audience members are invited on stage to compete alongside the six young characters.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is based on “C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E,” an original improvisational play developed by Rebecca Feldman and performed by the Farm, a New York-based improvisational comedy troupe. The 2005 Broadway production, directed by James Lapine and produced by David Stone with music and lyrics by William Finn, was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning two, including Best Book.

This production is directed by Bill Fennelly, an assistant professor in the theater program at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design (making his directorial debut at Drexel), with an all-star design team that includes lighting design by Barrymore Award-winner Thom Weaver, sound design by Nick Kourtides, choreography by Barrymore-nominated choreographer Jenn Rose, set design by Ian Guzzone and costume design by Lauren Perigard. Professional guest artist Emily Kleimo will appear in the role of Rona Lisa Peretti.

Show times are Friday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. Please note: the show has no intermission.

Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for general students and $5 for all Drexel students, faculty and staff (valid ID required). Group rate tickets are also available for groups of 10 or more. For more information regarding group tickets, email Nick Anselmo at For the box office, please call 215-895-ARTS. For additional information, visit

About the Drexel Players
The Drexel Players are a student-run organization that works in conjunction with Drexel University's department of performing arts to produce quality theater and provide service for the community. The Players produce three mainstage shows each year: a musical, a play and a professional show as part of the Mandell Professionals in Residence Project. Students participate in all aspects of theater performance and production including acting, directing, design, costumes, lighting, sets, sound, publicity and box office. Auditions take place in the spring and the beginning of each fall term for incoming students. Scholarships are available. 


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