Musical Review: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Details: More information can be found at http://www.playbill.com/production/the-25th-annual-putnam-county-spelling-bee-circle-in-the-square-theatre-vault-0000003219 and https://www.mtishows.com/the-25th-annual-putnam-county-spelling-bee

Score: 8/10

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical and a comedy about a spelling bee. I think the most distinctive and appealing part of this show is not just the humor, but the substantial amount of improvisation and audience participation.

This show takes place from the beginning to the end of a spelling bee. The cast is primarily a few kids with the cast occasionally switching roles to play other characters, which is hilarious. During the show, we learn about each characters back story and what motivates them to be in the spelling bee.

As said above, the audience participation in the show is the best part. At the beginning of the show, four adults are chosen to go on stage and participate in the spelling bee. The cast plays around and includes the audience members through a few musical numbers and they are forced to stand on stage and participate in the spelling bee. There are also ample jokes that involve the audience, like a part about how hot someone in the audience is and how that person gives a cast member an erection. Instead of just vaguely describing someone, they actively pick an actual person and describe her in detail. It just adds to the feeling that you are a participant in this show.

The music isn’t bad, but it’s not particularly memorable. The humor is good, though the improvised stuff is way funnier than their scripted moments.

Overall, this was a fun, cute, heartwarming show. By the end where they start telling you the kind of adults the kids turned into, I definitely felt a bit of emotion, even though these are adults playing children, then playing adults again at the end. I hope they bring this show back to Broadway one day because it is tons of fun.

Score: 8/10

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