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  The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Drury Lane- Oakbrook

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Drury Lane- Oakbrook
100 Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace

Tuneful, clever and uproarious, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee follows the story of six overachieving and quirky adolescents pitted against each other in the spelling challenge of a lifetime. To raise the comical bar, four audience members get the opportunity to participate in this quirky musical as onstage bee contestants. Through the ups and downs of the bee, the youngsters are forced to learn that winning isn't everything and losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser.

Thru - Aug 17, 2014

Wednesdays: 1:30pm
Thursdays: 1:30pm & 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 5:00pm & 8:30pm
Sundays: 2:00pm & 6:00pm



Price: $40-$50

Show Type: Musical

Running Time: 2hrs, 15mins

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Drury Lane- Oakbrook Seating Chart


  The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...The show also is stocked with talent, allowing for a very moving performance from Landree Fleming as a sweetly pickled Olive with a beautiful voice, a funny turn by the terrific Carolyn Braver as Logainne and, especially, a hilarious take on William by Eli Branson. I've seen enough Barfees to, oh never mind, but Branson, who comes replete with a great shock of hair that starts only about 300 miles from his eyebrows, is the funniest of them all. Jordan DeLeon, who plays Chip, is not far behind."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," now in director Scott Calcagno's deliciously grand-scale revival at Oakbrook's Drury Lane Theatre, may just be one of the quirkiest of hit Broadway musicals - in a tie, perhaps, with "Avenue Q," the show with which it shares the traits of sophisticated whimsy, faux naivete and a cast of characters caught up in the full range of contemporary neuroses and comically heartbreaking situations."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...When ineptly done, this comedy about the competitive world of spelling bees can seem shallow, cloying, and, frankly, silly. But when it's performed by people willing to explore its darker themes—like the folks at Drury Lane Oakbook—the show succeeds in being both funny and insightful, packed with laughs and also, by the end, deeply satisfying. Fear, panic, insecurity, and loneliness power the humor here, and every moment in director Scott Calcagno's production feels honest and real, even the gimmicky use of audience members as some of the spelling bee participants."
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Jack Helbig


ShowBizChicago - Highly Recommended

"...I could not have been more pleasantly surprised or hugely entertained by Drury Lane’s top-notch, slick, Broadway quality production of The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee. I now understand what all of the furor over it is about. It is a “concept” show, meaning that it has a gimmick. Although it may look deceptively simple on the surface this is one extremely difficult musical to pull off. And Drury Lane has done just that in spades."
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James Murray


ChicagoCritic - Recommended

"...The variety of “The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee” offers something for everyone to relate to, as well as a very funny, poignant and entertaining evening. Wordsmiths among us surely will enjoy just the sound of the words; the humor in the definitions; and the personality of each of the contestants when responding to their spelling challenges. All should certainly relate to at least one of the joys, sorrows or embarrassing moments of those memorable teen years! Try The Bee and enjoy!"
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Margaret Eva


Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...The show combines improv, music and scripted scenes and since there are four new faces from the audience at each show it stays fresh! Memorable songs include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Magic Foot, I Speak Six Languages, and a very emotional The I love You Song. It runs about 2 ½ hours with a 15 minute intermission. I enjoyed the second half a lot more than the first half. I felt more of a connection with the characters and really began to cheer for who I wanted to win. There are no losers here and it is all part of the journey."

Sally Jo Osborne


Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Directed by Scott Calcagno (who also did the musical staging) with musical direction by Ben Johnson, this is a young energetic cast that will astound you as they bring these six spellers alive. Led by their “leaders” Frances Limoncelli as Ms Peretti (a former champion) and the assistant vice principal Douglas Panch (deftly handled by the amazingly funny Joe Dempsey) and their security guard, on work release,Mitch ( solidly played by Jonathan Butler-Duplessis), we get to watch the stage of Drury Lane become a school gymnasium, complete with electronic scoreboard for this special event. It is strange to be in a high school gym complete with crystal chandeliers, but after all, we are at Drury lane in Oakbrook, aren’t we?"
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Alan Bresloff


Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...With all the trauma and drama in today’s world this sparkling production, which feels new, up-to-date and very welcome, is a breath of fresh air. Nothing weighty happens in this musical, except the reminder that even nerdy little kids deserve their share of love, respect and their chance to shine in the sun. That may not be a new idea, but the way things get buried in detail today it’s an important thought to take home. Scott Calcagno’s super sassy production, cast with nine gifted, shiny new actors, ably supported by a technical staff of (mostly) new faces all brimming with talent, is earnest and true. A trip to this Oakbrook-based Spelling Bee will reward audiences with not just one champion, but a entire show filled with winners."

Colin Douglas


  The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.


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