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F-u-n With Broadway's 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on Wordmaster: a track from the original Broadway cast recording of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

RS: The show is a musical satire of spelling competitions and the pressure to "go to Washington" – where, in real life, the best young spellers compete in the National Spelling Bee.

VOICE: Ms. Peretti. Please spell "syzygy."

RONA: S-y-z-y-g-y. Syzygy?

VOICE: We have a winner!

RONA: Oh, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

CHIP: At the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
My parents keep on telling me
Just being here is winning.
I know it isn't so.

RONA: But it's a very nice
Very, very nice ...

RONA, CHIP: Very, very nice
Very nice beginning.

RONA: Our winner here last year: Chip Tolentino.

SCHWARZY: Ms. Peretti!

RONA: And our youngest competitor, Logainne Schwarzandgrubeniere.

CONEYBEAR: At the 25th Annual
Putnam County Spelling game -- Bee!
I'll stand when they announce my

RONA: Leaf Coneybear.

CONEYBEAR: And try and keep from shaking.

His shaking will not pass

'Cause it's a very big,
Very fraught
Simple but it's not
It's a very big undertaking.

RONA: Returning after last year's tragic setback, William Barfee.

BARFEE: It's pronounced Barfee, there's an accent egue.

RONA: I'm not sure who this girl is.

MARCY: Marcy Park. Recent transfer.

SCHWARZY: Winner's destination: Washington, D.C.

In a fancy hotel.

MARCY/CHIP/SCHWARZY: Where they treat you well.

ALL: All because you love to spell.
We spell.

RONA: It's a marvelous memory
If you win the spelling bee.
One's life improves from A to Z
The minute you are crowned here.
I see a trophy held by me!
And when I won
Did I swell?
Oh the stories I could tell!
But braggarts don't do well
Around here.

OLIVE: Hi, I'm Olive Ostrovsky. Do you know where I check in?

BARFEE: Shut up!

CONEYBEAR: At the 25th Annual
We memorize the manual ...

ALL: About how to spell these words.
Words that require thought.
People think we're automatons.
But that is exactly what we're not.

MARCY: We hear the word.

SCHWARZY: We breathe.


ALL: Unlike idiots we ideate.

RONA: To ideate is to form an image or idea, to think

CONEYBEAR: At the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ...

SCHWARZY: We feel no animosity.

SCHWARZY/OLIVE: And yet our heads are spinning.

BARFEE: We are
The slightest bit bizarre.

MARCY: But since the time is now ...

CONEYBEAR: Holy cow!

SCHWARZY: We shall make a solemn vow
To concentrate on winning.

ALL: We concentrate on winning.
At the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
We speak so damn convincingly.

RONA: They're nervous but they're grinning.

GIRLS: It seems
We're living out our dreams.

BOYS: Which is a very nice
Very nice, very very very nice

ALL: Very nice, very nice
Very very very nice
Very nice

RONA: 25th Annual

SPELLERS: 25th Annual

ALL: Putnam County Spelling Bee!

RS: "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is on stage in New York and San Francisco. A national tour is scheduled to begin later this year.

AA: And that's Wordmaster for this week -- online at Our e-mail address is With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.