Press Room

THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE PRESS RELEASE

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PRESS RELEASE
August 29, 2014
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Kirsten Park
801-581-6270
kirsten.park@ptc.utah.edu
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Pioneer Theatre Company Presents

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Music and lyrics by William Finn. Book by Rachel Shenkin.

Conceived by Rebecca Feldman. Additional material by Jay Reiss.
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Salt Lake City – Pioneer Theatre Company presents the musical The 25th Annual Putnam
County Spelling Bee, September 12 through 27, 2014.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a hilarious tale of high school-aged
overachievers, their hopes, their dreams, and their angst as they compete for a
slot in the National Spelling Bee. Overseen by adults still stuck in adolescence
themselves, they sing their stories, utilize unique spelling techniques and learn
that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.

Special Note: There are two licensed versions of …Spelling Bee, and PTC will produce
both versions. The original, slightly bawdier performance deals more directly with
the inescapable fact that one of the young Spelling Bee  contestants is facing the
onset of puberty, with some embarrassing  consequences. That version will be performed
at the Thursday, September 18th and Wednesday, September 24th performances.

All other performances will be of the milder version, which deals with the character’s
dilemma a little more discreetly. That version would probably be rated PG-13 for
a small amount of language and subject matter.

“We think Salt Lake City audiences will appreciate the opportunity to see both versions
of Spelling Bee,” said Managing Director Chris Lino, “and we hope some patrons take
advantage of the chance to see both versions-it’s a slightly different production
each time.”

MARY FANNING DRIGGS returns to PTC as the long-time spelling bee hostess and former
champion, Rona Lisa Peretti. Driggs has appeared in many PTC productions, including
Les Misérables, Sunset Boulevard, White Christmas and 42ndStreet.

JACOB HOFFMAN plays Chip Tolentino, a Boy Scout and champion of the Twenty-Fourth
Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee hoping to defend his title. Returning to Utah
after having appeared in Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical and Twelfth Night during the
Utah Shakespearean Festival’s 2007 season, this is his PTC debut.

ERICK PINNICK plays Mitch Mahoney, the “Official Comfort Counselor,” and returns
to Pioneer Theatre Company after appearing as Ulysses in Paint Your Wagon and No
Moe in Five Guys Named Moe. He has appeared on Broadway in A Christmas Carol, Off-Broadway
in Roundabout’s The Tin Pan Alley Rag and has toured nationally with Sunset Boulevard.

KENDAL SPARKS plays William Barfèe who with his “magic spelling foot,” hopes to
vindicate himself after his early elimination the previous year. Sparks has performed
in City Center Encores! in New York City, as well as in regional theatres throughout
the country. This is Sparks’ PTC debut.

JEFF TALBOTT as frustrated Vice Principal Douglas Panch returns to PTC after previously
appearing in The Odd Couple (Felix) and Doubt (Father Flynn). Talbott was also seen
on Broadway in Sly Fox and Fortune’s Fool.

Playing the ultimate overachiever Marcy Park, SHANNON TYO returns to PTC after last
appearing as Kim in Miss Saigon.

EMILY WALTON playing Olive Ostrovsky, the quiet only child with the absent father,
makes her PTC debut. Walton was in the Broadway companies of Peter and the Starcatcher
and August: Osage County.

AUSTIN ARCHER and ELISE GROVES both return to PTC’s stage. Archer plays Leaf Coneybear
and was seen in last year’s A Few Good Men and Much Ado About Nothing. Groves plays
the lisping Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre and was last seen in Sunset Boulevard.

In her third season with PTC, Artistic Director KAREN AZENBERG directs this production
after directing last season’s Sweet Charity, A Few Good Men and Something’s Afoot.
Originally from New York, Azenberg’s work there includes Lyrics and Lyricists (92nd
St. Y), Blocks (a collaboration with Jonathan Larson), Prom Queens Unchained, and
choreography for Richard Greenberg’s The Dazzle (Roundabout). Other credits include
National Tours of Carousel and Brigadoon, Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor
(Regional Theatre Premiere at Geva), over fifteen productions of West Side Story,
one of which earned her a Drama-Logue Award for Outstanding Choreography, and many
others.

DANNY PELZIG choreographs this production in his second production at PTC. He also
choreographed Ragtime at PTC. He choreographed 33 Variations and A Year With Frog
and Toad on Broadway. As a director and choreographer for opera, theatre and ballet,
his most recent credits include Carousel at the Glimmerglass Festival, The Figaro
Plays at the McCarter, Private Lives at Shakespeare Theatre, Lucia di Lammermoor
at La Scala and Die Fledermaus at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera.

Guest artist HELEN GREGORY returns as musical director after conducting three previous
productions for PTC: Rent, In The Heights, and Something’s Afoot. Ms. Gregory will
also be conducting for The Rocky Horror Show: Concert Version at PTC in October.

Scenic design is by visiting artist DANIEL MEEKER in his Pioneer Theatre Company
debut. Recent credits include designs at the Portland Center Stage. He was also
the Lead Lighting designer for the Pickathon Festival, an independent annual music
festival in Happy Valley Oregon.

Irene Sharaff Young Master Award winner GREGORY GALE designs the costumes for this
production. His Broadway work includes Cyrano de Bergerac and Rock of Ages, both
of which earned Tony Award Nominations. His Broadway credits also include the costume
design for Arcadia, The Wedding Singer, Band in Berlin and Urinetown.

Lighting design is by guest designer MICHAEL GILLIAM. Gilliam returns to PTC after
designing for Sweet Charity, The Odd Couple, Of Mice and Men, Next to Normal, Rent,
A Chorus Line and others. His Broadway credits include Brooklyn, Big River and Stand-Up
Tragedy. He also designed for the national tours of Brooklyn, Guys and Dolls and
Big River, and has won the Los Angeles Ovation Award, Drama-Logue Award, Garland
Award and the 1999 Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle.

Sound design is by JOSHUA C. HIGHT. Hight is an established live sound engineer
in both London and Salt Lake City. His other projects of note include working with
Sommerset House for the 2012 Olympic Games, Of Monsters and Men, Collective Soul,
Fallout Boy, Slash, the Psychedelic Furs, Citizen Cope, the Dropkick Murphys, Gogol
Bordello, Kate Nash, Easton Corbin, Sevendust and many more. Hight is a Graduate
with Distinction of London’s Alchemea College of Audio Engineering and the Resident
Sound Designer for PTC.

Hair and makeup design is by PTC resident designer AMANDA FRENCH. French has worked
for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Utah Opera,
Egyptian Theatre Company and the University of Texas as Austin. She is a contributing
writer in the tenth edition of Stage Makeup by Corson, Glavan and Norcross, and
her work can be seen in The Costume Technician’s Handbook by Ingham and Covey, and
Wig Making and Styling: A Complete Guide for Theatre and Film by Ruskai and Lowery.

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PHOTOS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD: High-resolution color photos of this production will
be available for media use on the PTC website beginning Thursday, September 4, 2014
after 3:00 p.m. Go directly to <a href=”http://www.pioneertheatre.org/press-room/media-photos/”
track=”on” >http://www.pioneertheatre.org/press-room/media-photos/</a>

TV CAMERA FILMING: Filming a short segment of the production during Preview or Opening
Night for press use can be arranged. Call 801-581-6270.

INTERVIEWS: Interviews with the cast and artistic staff are available. Call 801-581-7222.

PRESS TOURS: Tours of the set for the press are available. Call 801-581-6270.

WHO:

Pioneer Theatre Company

WHAT:

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Music and Lyrics by William Finn, Book by Rachel Sheinkin, Conceived by Rebecca
Feldman. Additional Material by Jay Reiss.

WHEN:

September 12 – September 27, 2104

SPECIAL PERFORMANCES:

Performances held on Thursday, September 18 and Wednesday, September 24, 2014 will
both feature the script from the original, slightly bawdier version of The 25th
Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

TIMES:

Mondays – Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.

Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00 p.m.

Saturday matinees, 2:00 p.m.

WHERE:

Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre

300 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City

PRICE:

$38 – $59 in advance and $5 more when purchased on the day of the show

Kids in grades K – 12 are half price on Mondays and Tuesdays

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT:

$5 off the cost of Main Floor and Loge seating for the first seven performances,
when tickets are purchased on or before September 5th.

MORE INFO:

Box Office: 801-581-6961

Open 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mon – Fri

<a href=”” track=”on” >www.pioneertheatre.org</a>

CAST:

Austin Archer……………………….Leaf Coneybear

Mary Fanning Driggs*……………..Rona Lisa Peretti

Elise Groves…………..Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre

Jacob Hoffman*…………………..Chip Tolentino

Erick Pinnick*………………………Mitch Mahoney

Kendal Sparks*……………………..William Barfèe

Jeff Talbott*……………………… Douglas Panch

Shannon Tyo*……………………Marcy Park

Emily Walton*……………………….Olive Ostrovsky

ARTISTIC TEAM:

Director…………………………………………..Karen Azenberg

Choreographer…………………………………….. Daniel Pelzig

Music Director-Conductor………………………. Helen Gregory

Set Designer………………………………………. Daniel Meeker

Costume Designer……………………………….. Gregory Gale

Lighting Designer………………………………… Michael Gilliam

Sound Designer…………………………………… Joshua C. Hight

Hair and Makeup Designer…………………….. Amanda French

Production Stage Manager…………………….. Mary P. Costello*

Stage Manager……………………………………. John “JP” Pollard*

* Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association.
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Pioneer  Theatre Company operates under an agreement between the League of  Resident
Theatres (LORT) and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of  professional actors
and stage managers in the United States. Pioneer  Theatre Company, Utah’s only fully
professional theatre, performs at  Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial
Theatre, located on the  University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in
Salt Lake City,  easily accessible by TRAX light rail. Free parking is also available
and the theatre is equipped with an elevator, handicap parking, hearing  assistance
devices and other easy-access features.
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