Darren Day and Niki Evans are set to star in the first UK tour of William Finn’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy – ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’, which plays at the Opera House, St Helier on 24-26 October. ‘Spelling Bee’ is a musical comedy that centres on the lives of six quirky adolescents who have entered into the ‘Bee’, a competition that asks the contestants to spell a variety of words, usually with a broad degree of difficulty, which is run by three equally as quirky grown-ups.
Darren Day, who is best known for his leading roles in West End and touring productions of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Summer Holiday, We Will Rock You and television work including ‘Danny Houston’ in Hollyoaks will play ‘Vice Principal Panch’, a senior member of the judging panel who has recently returned to the competition after five years with a fresh outlook on life, all thanks to his high-fibre diet and his unrequited love of fellow judge and previous ‘Bee’ Champion, ‘Rona Lisa Peretti’ played by Niki Evans who found fame on ITV’s X Factor and went on to star as ‘Mrs Johnstone’ in the West End and touring productions of ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘Paulette’ in Legally Blonde.
The full cast includes; Rhys Owen as Mitch Mahoney, Ellie Mason as Olive Ovstrokvsky, Thomas Mackley as William Barfee, Janette McManus as Logainne SchwartzandGrubenierre, Arina II as Marcy Park, Ross Cobbald as Leaf Coneybear and Joshua Dowen as Chip Tolentino.
The musical was conceived by Rebecca Fieldman, with music and lyrics by William Finn (Falsettos), a book by Rachel Sheinkin with additional material by Jay Reiss and it premiered on Broadway in 2005 and won two of its six Tony Award Nominations, including Best Book. Since then it has spurred various productions including a US National Tour and a production in Australia. London’s Donmar Warehouse gave the musical its UK premiere in 2011.
ASH Productions LIVE and Harlow Playhouse are producing the touring production in association with Patch of Blue Theatre Company who presented the musical last year at the Edinburgh Festival for a sell-out, critically acclaimed run directed by Alex Howarth who returns to direct this up-scaled production along with Lee Freeman as Musical Director and Kenn Oldfield as Choreographer.
‘Spelling Bee’ plays at Jersey on 24-26 October on its tour of the UK which includes Harlow, Croydon, Barnstaple, Birmingham, Kettering, Blackpool, High Wycombe, Jersey, Worthing, Liverpool, Crawley and Eastbourne.
There is no need for us to spell it out for you – this show will ‘bee’ simply too good to miss!
Tickets for THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE are on sale now.