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‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ opens Festival 56 season on Friday

Published: Monday, June 16, 2014 3:18 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, June 16, 2014 3:23 p.m. CST
(Photo contributed)
Caleb Donahoe takes on a challenging word in the Festical 56 production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" running June 20-28 in Princeton.

PRINCETON — The Tony Award-winning musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” opens the 11th season of Festival 56 at 7:30 p.m. June 20 at the Grace Performing Arts, 31 S. Main St., Princeton. The show will run through June 28.

As six awkward adolescents vie for the spelling championship, they learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser. All of them find a new sense of belonging as they navigate the pressures of the bee.

“‘Spelling Bee’ is a unique contemporary musical unlike any other,” said Jimmy Calitri, director of the show. “It’s got audience participation, a host of quirky characters, intricate vocals, spectacle, dance, and non-stop comedy. The audience gets caught up with the young spellers, following them through the trials, tribulations, and pressures of competing. The ‘Bee’ is as uproarious as it is heart-warming.”

Because this coming-of-age play contains some adult humor and coarse language, it is recommended for ages 12 and up.

A brief discussion with the show’s cast and director will take place after the opening night performance, followed by the first of the season’s Late Night Cabarets at 10 p.m.

The Grace Performing Arts Center is completely accessible and ample nearby parking is available. To purchase tickets, visit, call 815-879-5656, ext. 11, or stop by the box office, open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and an hour before each performance.

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