The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Ballyhoo Theatre

About the project and the company

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Directed by Shileah Corey

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 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.


Ages 13-21 (younger/older with permission.) Acceptance is by audition only.

Actors of all ethnicities, genders, identities and abilities are celebrated and encouraged to audition.


Location of Audition

Email for audition appointment and informationThis production is a tuition based, educational theatre intensive

Other details

This is tuition based, educational theatre.

Audition requirements

Prepare a verse/chorus (no longer than 2 minutes) of a musical theatre song and a comic monologue. Please email for an audition appointment.

Character breakdown / Project needs
Rona Lisa Peretti:
(Female presenting) 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:
(Any gender) Frustrated with thier life, they find the drive of the young spellers alien to them. After five years' absence from the Bee, Panch returns as judge. There was an "incident" at the Twentieth Annual Bee, but they claim to be in "a better place" now, thanks to a high-fiber diet and Jungian analysis. They are infatuated with Rona Lisa Peretti, but she does not return their affections.
Mitch Mahoney:
(Any gender) The Official Comfort Counselor. An ex-convict, Mitch is performing their community service with the Bee, and hands out juice boxes to losing students. They have no idea how to offer comfort, but does find themself wishing they could find a way to make the kids feel better.
Olive Ostrovsky:
(Female presenting) 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.
William Barfée:
(Male presenting) 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.
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre:
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:
(Female presenting) A recent transfer from Virginia, Marcy placed 9th in last year’s nationals. She speaks six languages, is a member of all-American hockey, a championship rugby player, plays Chopin and Mozart on multiple instruments, sleeps only three hours a night, hides in the bathroom cabinet, and is getting very tired of always winning. She is the poster child for the Over-Achiever, and attends a Catholic school called "Our Lady of Intermittent Sorrows." She is also not allowed to cry.
Leaf Coneybear:
(Any gender) The second runner-up in their district, Leaf gets into the competition on a lark and finds everything about the bee incredibly amusing. They are home-schooled and come from a large family of former hippies. They are easily distracted and spells words correctly while in a trance.
Chip Tolentino:
(Male presenting) A 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.
Other, doubled, characters:
Carl Grubenierre, Dan Schwartz, Leaf’s Mom, Leaf’s Siblings, Olive’s Mom, Olive's Dad, Jesus
Additional information
Preferred method of submission


Audition/Interview dates

February 16, 20 and 22

Pay type


Audition location

Edmonds WA

Union Requirements


Website specific to project

Equity Contract