"Spelling Bee" Musical PG & PG 13 performances

Posted at 1:15 PM, Dec 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 13:15:43-05

The hit musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," continues cracking up crowds at the Farmington Players Barn in Farmington Hills. Two separate casts are performing both PG and PG-13 shows. Our Chief Editor Dr. Partha Nandi headlines a list of local celebrities who will serve as guest spellers. The show runs through December 20th, with tickets available at or at 248-553-2955.

[laf-ter, lahf-]: L-A-U-G-H-T-E-R. Laughter.  An expression or appearance of merriment or amusement you will experience when you come to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (presented in One Act) at The Farmington Players Barn.  Six awkward spelling champions compete for the top prize only to learn there is more to life than winning or losing the contest. The show opens Friday December 4th and runs through Sunday, December 20th.  In the spirit of Opening Night, the pre-show party will include a middle school cafeteria theme.  Reserved seats for evening and matinee performances are available now at 248-553-2955 or online at


Barn veteran Amy Lauter of Farmington Hills directs the warm and funny hit musical that includes two separate casts: adults and two teens for the evening and Sunday performances  (PG 13: for some adult language and content), and a mixed cast of adults and kids for matinee performances (PG: slightly modified, parental guidance suggested).  Lauter thought it would benefit the adult actors to work closely with the young cast members who are closer to the ages of the characters.  She certainly enjoys watching both generations learn from and “inspire” each other. “It seems to be working well, as my adult cast has embodied some of those middle school behaviors perfectly,” says Lauter. 


 Some of the best comedy in SPELLING BEE comes from the audience participation in which patrons are dragged on stage to spell words, serving up fresh bits of fun with each performance. Channel 7 Chief Health Editor Dr. Partha Nandi highlights a list of local celebrities who will play these roles. See the guest list below, including dates for each guest.


“Spelling Bee” (Music and Lyrics by William Finn; Book by Rachel Sheinkin) opened on Broadway in 2005, earning 6 Tony nominations and winning two (including “Best Book”). The entertaining score conducted by Martin Mandelbaum of Oak Park contains a list of sensational songs that will stick in your head, including, My favorite moment of the bee, I’m not that smart, and Magic Foot. The tunes are complemented by choreography created by Allison Boufford of Livonia.

The show focuses on a quirky group of six middle-schoolers (overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves) fighting for the spelling championship. While candidly disclosing humorous and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words hoping to never hear the soul- crushing, "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.


Six spellers compete; only one survives. At least the losers get a juice box. But the real winners are the audience members who director Lauter believes are in for a real treat.  “My hope is that each of you will find yourself (or your former self) in at least one of these well-crafted characters and go home feeling a bit nostalgic about your pre-teen years,” says Lauter.

The show is so much more than simply fun and games, as the spellers take their mission quite seriously, supported by some raw themes that offer humorous social commentary. “Spelling Bee” targets bullying, marriage equality, gender discrimination and of course parents, both the “absentee” and “helicopter” types.  In doing so, the musical pokes fun at overachievers and whimsically illuminates the need to slow down, to take time to  “spell the roses” (if you will) so we can examine our own road to success and the things that really matter in life. In this production, audiences will see how winning and losing are merely potholes, along that hilarious journey.

[Huh-lare-ee-us] H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S.  Hilarious.  A rib-tickling sensation felt by anyone in the audience of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, at the Farmington Players Barn.

Tickets are available at and also at the box office (248) 553-2955.

Reserved seats for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are available now at or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.


Friday, December       4th      -8pm

Saturday, December    5th      -2pm (P.G. Matinee – Kid Cast)

Saturday, December   5th      -8pm

Sunday, December      6th      -2pm

Friday, December       11th   -8pm

Saturday, December   12th   -2pm (P.G. Matinee – Kid Cast)

Saturday, December   12th    -8pm

Sunday, December      13th    -2pm

Friday, December       18th    -8pm

Saturday, December   19th    -2pm (P.G. Matinee – Kid Cast)

Saturday, December   19th    -8pm

Sunday, December      20th   -2pm


Reserved Seats are available at both and the box office at 248-553-2955.   You can also send an email to


•   Adults: $20

•   Students: $18

•   New Senior Pricing: $18 -  ($2 off any performance and Seniors Must be 62+).

•   Group Discount: $ ($2 off adult price on any show with a group of ten or more people.)


The Farmington Players Barn is located at 32332 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills Michigan 48334. It’s the big white barn on the north side of 12 mile between Orchard Lake and Farmington Rd.


Mall, Malisow & Cooney, PC

Cast Members

GROWN UPS (in both casts)


Rona Lisa Peretti – Jamee Perryman, Clawson

Vice Principal Doug Panch – Jim Snideman, Commerce Twp

Mitch Mahoney - Cory Shorter, Dearborn Hts


SPELLERS (in PG13 cast)

Chip Tolentino - Daniel Murray, Birmingham

Leaf Coneybear - Lloyd Platis, Canton

William Barfee -  Yakob Engel, Farmington Hills

Olive Ostrovsky - Mackenzie McIlroy, Commerce Twp

Logainne SchwartzandGrubenierre - Lindsey Brenz, Troy

Marcy Park - Jordan Gagnon, Farmington Hills


SPELLERS (in PG kid cast)

Chip Tolentino - Matthew Grunza-Baker, Pleasant Ridge

Leaf Coneybear - Jonathon Stecevic, Farmington Hills

William Barfee - Yakob Engel, Farmington Hills

Olive Ostrovsky - Maryanna Lauter, Farmington Hills

Logainne SchwartzandGrubenierre - Hallie Fox, Ypsilanti

Marcy Park - Paige Osgood, Brighton



Dec 4 @ 8 pm: Greg Bowman and Brooke Allen (WWJ)

Dec 5 @ 2 pm: Steven Koponen (Teacher at Dunckel Middle School, Farmington Hills)

Dec 6 @ 2pm:  Sandy Mall (Show Sponsor)

Dec 11 @ 8 pm: Roger Weber (Retired WDIV Reporter)

Dec 12 @ 2 pm: Ken Massey (Farmington Hills Mayor)

Dec12  @8pm:  Allyson Martinek (Detroit Radio Personality)

Dec. 18 @8pm: Jan Stevenson (Publisher of "Between The Lines")

Dec19  @2pm:  Allyson Martinek (Detroit Radio Personality)

Dec 19 @2pm: Dr. Partha Nandi (WXYZ CHIEF HEALTH EDITOR), Allyson Martinek (Detroit Radio Personality), Paul Gross (WDIV Meteorologist), Jay Haynes (Farmington Hills Youth Counselor)

Dec 19 @ 8 pm: Roop Raj (Fox 2 Anchor)


Director - Amy Lauter, Farmington HIlls

Assistant Director/Stage Manager - Keshia Daisy Oliver, Plymouth

Choreographer - Allison Boufford, Livonia

Music Director - Martin Mandelbaum, Oak Park

Producer - Bonnie Fitch, Southfield

Producer - Nancy Harrower, Royal Oak

Producer, Ann Carlson, Southfield