The producers of Shadow Lawn Stage, the professional theatre of Monmouth University now in its 17th year, are pleased to announce its 2013 production for this summer. Following the success of its musical Teddy and Alice last summer, the hit Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will open on June 27 and continue Wednesdays through Sundays until July 21 at Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University. The musical features songs by William Finn.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which ran on Broadway for three years, reveals the lives and anxieties of young people competing in a spelling bee. It was originally conceived by Rebecca Feldman and has a book by Rachel Sheinkin and additional material by Jay Reiss. The show won Tony Awards for Best Book and for Best Featured Performer.
Directed by Sheri Anderson, specialist professor at Monmouth University, the play will feature the talents of two local Equity actors: Bradley Mott of Asbury Park and Eleni Delopoulos of Neptune City. They will play the roles of Vice-Principal Panch, who dictates the words to young spellers, and Rona Lisa Perretti, the long-time spelling bee hostess and former champion, respectively. Mr. Mott has appeared in Shadow Lawn’s past productions of Sunshine Boys, Scapino, and Molly Sweeney. He has also acted at Two River in Red Bank and in Spamalot in Chicago. Ms. Delopoulos, who has appeared off-Broadway and previously played the role of Rona for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, is making her Shadow Lawn debut. Other roles will be played by young professionals from the area and several high school and college students, including James Saunders (Mitch) of Ocean, Taylor Bogan (Olive) of Brick, Bryan Haring (Barfee) of Monroe Twp., Michael Rosas (Leaf) of Long Branch, and Michaela Spellman (Logan) of Howell. Dan Zamberg and Abby Espiritu are reprising their roles of Chip and Marcy, which they recently performed in Summit, NJ.
A special treat of the show is audience participation. Members of the audience are chosen to compete in the spelling bee as actual contestants. People interested in participating may volunteer on the evening of the performance or sign up in advance by going to the theater’s Facebook page: Shadow Lawn Stage.
Co-produced by Maurice J. Moran and Professor Anderson, “Spelling Bee” will run for 19 performances: June 27 – June 30, July 3 – July 7, and July 17 – July 21, with a matinee on Friday, June 28 at 2 p.m. There is no performance on the 4th of July. Mr. Moran advises that “some material – language and situations – may not be suitable for younger audience members, depending on individual family values. If it were a movie, it might be rated PG-13.” Tickets are $10 – $35. For more information, go to www.monmouth.edu/arts or call 732-263-6889.