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Community Performance Series Presents 2024 Summer Musical Production of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

June 14, 2024
‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ Stars Community Cast, Showing from July 10 to 14, in SUNY Potsdam’s Performing Arts Center 

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will run from July 10 to 14, in the Proscenium Theater at SUNY Potsdam’s Performing Arts Center. For tickets, go to

Community Performance Series will present a production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” this summer at SUNY Potsdam. The production will run from Wednesday, July 10, through Sunday, July 14, with five showtimes.  

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” features a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching book by Rachel Skeinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, for one unforgettable bee experience. 

The musical features an eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life-un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves a champion! At least the losers get a juice box. 

The show features a creative team partnership of more than 40 SUNY Potsdam faculty, staff and students working alongside local alumni, professionals and educators. Stage directed by Kimberly Busch ’93 & ’96, and vocal directed by Andrea Ellison ’01 & ’02, the production is choreographed by Meaghan Janovsky ’07 & ’12 and backed by a live pit orchestra directed by Jill Roberts ’90.  

“One of the most influential and memorable times in our lives is puberty and adolescence. Some remember it with fondness and nostalgia, some with absolute loathing, and many are somewhere in between. ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ directs our memories back to that time in our lives by way of a rather old-fashioned construct of a spelling bee,” said Director Kimberly Busch ’93 & ’96. “This musical, however, is much more contemporary than reminiscent. These adolescent contestants invite us into a world of insecurities and confusion, as they grapple with so many things that alienate them from their ‘average’ peers, such as: perfectionism, same-sex parenting, absent parenting, home-schooling and their own changing physiology! A beautiful balance between nostalgic empathy and entertainment is achieved in this comedic yet poignant gem of contemporary musical theater.” 

Evening shows  

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will open on Wednesday, July 10, with daily evening performances at 7 p.m. through Friday, July 12. Evening shows are recommended for audiences 13 and up.  

Family-friendly matinees 

There will be two matinee shows, at 2 p.m., on Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14, which will be toned down with a replacement song more appropriate for a PG audience.  

 Opening night fun 

Join the “Putnam County PTA”-themed special opening night festivities on Wednesday, July 10, which will include photo opportunities, a book fair-style fundraiser, cash bar and light snacks. Enjoy a fully immersive ’90s theme celebration in the Performing Arts Center lobby, beginning at 5 p.m., free for all ticket-holders. 


Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased exclusively online at – advance purchases are discounted $5 per ticket through Tuesday, July 9. In-person ticket purchases at the SUNY Potsdam Box Office, located in the Performing Arts Center lobby will begin on Wednesday, June 26. Please see the CPS website for details. The Box Office will be closed on July 4 in observance of Independence Day. 

The musical is timed to coincide with Reunion 2024 at SUNY Potsdam and with the annual Potsdam Summer Festival, allowing visitors and community members to add a night at the theatre to their celebrations. 

This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council. Learn more at 

About Community Performance Series: 

The Community Performance Series is a college-community partnership presenting distinctive and renowned performing artists and arts education opportunities in Northern New York. This rich mixture of programming links communities, classrooms and audiences of all ages and preserves access to the performing arts for future generations. For more information, visit 

About SUNY Potsdam:  

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit 

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