William Finn’s 2005 hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the show about a middle school spelling bee competition (and made stars out of Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dan Fogler, and Celia Keenan-Bolger) ran on Broadway at the Circle In the Square Theater for a whopping 1,136 performances, after a 2004 Off-Broadway success at Second Stage, and was developed at Barrington Stage. But the shows origins came from a video tape that was sent to Finn by well-known friend. It was an original improvisational play entitled C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, that included audience participation, and was created by Rebecca Feldman and performed by The Farm, a New-York-based improvisational comedy troupe. (It also included Dan Fogler, who would win a Tony for ‘Spelling Bee’) Who was the friend that saw potential the obscure piece, and convinced Finn to take a look?
A. Bernadette Peters B. Wendy Wasserstein C. Betty Buckley D. Joe Montello
Scroll past a video of Celia Keenan-Bolger singing “The I Love You Song” in the original Off-Broadway production of The 25th Annual Spelling Bee at Second Stage to see the answer!!
(B.) Wendy Wasserstein‘s (Heidi Chronicles, Sisters Rosensweig) weekend nanny, Sarah Saltzberg, was in the original production. After seeing it, Wasserstein recommended that Finn see the show. Finn brought Rachel Sheinkin (a former NYU student of his) on board, and they worked together with Feldman to transform “C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E” into the scripted full-length musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.