The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

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The25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a long one-act musical comedy conceived by Rebecca Feldman with music and lyrics by William Finn, a book by Rachel Sheinkin and additional material by Jay Reiss. The show centers on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the Bee, run by three equally-quirky grown-ups.

Vice Principal Douglas Panch

  • Mexican: 1)Noun A person or something hailing from or related to the Country of Mexico

2)Slang An American term denoting anyone from Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, South America, or Spain.

Leaf ConeyBear

  • It seems strange that all my words are South American Rodents!



Panch: Your word is: hào.

Effeminate Audience speller: Can I please have the definition?

Panch: "A vietnamese unit of currency, equal to 1/10 of a dong."

Effeminate Audience speller: May I have it in a sentence?

Panch: "Holding his 10-hào paycheck over his head, Mingli proclaimed ,'With my dong, I will feed my Family!'"

EAS:h-à-o. hào.

P: Correct!

Rona:In all these years, he is the first one to get that word right!

Panch: I guess he really loves dongs!

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

  • (Chip) My parents keep on telling me just being here is winning. Although I know it isn't so.
  • (Leaf) At the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling game. Bee! I'll stand when they announce my name. And try to keep from shaking.
  • (Logainne) We feel no animosity.
  • (Barfee spoken) Excuse me, I have marked this area off with invisible tape!
  • (Leaf) At the 25th Annual, we've memorize the manual!
  • (All) About how to spell these words. Words that require thought. People say we're automatons. But that is exactly what we're not.
  • (Olive spoken) Excuse me, do you know where I sign in? (*Barfee spoken) Shut up!

Spelling Rules

  • (Panch spoken) If you start to spell a word you may start over (kids take over) but the sequences of letters already spoken may not be changed
  • (Rona) If you misspell a word (kids repeat) misspell a word (Rona) We will ring (kids repeat) you will ring the bell and the comfort counselor, (Mitch) Mitch Mahoney, (Kids) Mitch Mahoney, (Rona) Will escort you off stage!

My Friend the Dictionary

  • (Olive) Because my mother is in an ashram in india. I saved a chair for her too, but it's merely symbolic. As daily she washes herself in the Ganges
  • (Olive) I love my dictionary and I love its indented border. Every word is in alphabetical order Ergo lost things always can be found.
  • (Olive) And I wrap my head around the fact that in one book is the entire language of our species which is a favorite term of Niccis Who's the great-grandfather of Christina Riccis Yes I joke, but the words in the dictionary Are the friends that I have forever More than the friends I have made in school
  • (Leaf and Chip) She's such a lovely girl with a lovely little voice
  • (Logainne) And I hear that she's prochoice though still a virgin


  • (Chip) It is such a calamity where should we begin? The best spellers don't necessarily win.
  • (Barfee) Damn life bites. but I like competition.
  • (Leaf) I knew that word (Olive) I knew that word (Marcy and Chip) I knew that word (All) Goddamnit
  • (Chip) Life is pandemonium ooooooohhh. (All) Life is random and unfair (Chip) Yes it is (All) YEEEAAAAHHH
    • Pandemonium

I'm not that smart

  • (Leaf) I'm not that smart, my siblings having telling me that for years. That I'm not smart. We're schooled at home they see who's bright it breaks my heart
  • (Leaf) How could a flea such as me think he'd be good at spelling?
  • (Leaf) I like my hair, no really it is pleasant to the touch, I toss my hair a bit too much, it doesn't move it simply sits, I make a part, I'm not that smart.
  • (Leaf spoken) I forgot the word... (Panch spoken) Oh my god. Acouchi! (Leaf spoken) Right, the south american rodent relating to the other one. What was it again? A-C-O-U-C-H-I! Acouchi? (Panch spoken) That is correct
  • (Leaf) I might be smart, my siblings can't believe that I got it right. But I got it right! Right? I didn't cheat. No, no, no, no. I saw this light and it was neat.
  • (Leaf) I like to laugh, I like to spell, I like to never hear the bell... and if the competition's hell! At least I'm finally a part, I feel my heart begin to swell. I like, no I love, to spell! I like it a lot!

Magic Foot

  • (Barfee) Magic foot, take me to the final round. Magic foot I barely lift it off the ground. Magic foot. I do it without making a sound.
  • (Barfee semi-spoken) Let's see what we have here foot, H-A-S-E-N, Hasen! P-F-E-F-F, a pfeff, E-R let us a go.
  • (Barfee) Magic foot, write that letter! Magic Foot, write the perfect letter. Magic foot, it's terrific when I make a word, with my foot, Magic foot.

Prayer of the Comfort Counsler

  • (Mitch) My friend you will be missed, but now go with dignity. This ends, but first on your list. You should go with pride. You've been the best looking babe we've had all day. You're a real nice babe as well. Now go and spell. Spell with patcience and care. That, babe, is my prayer.
  • (Mitch) Try not to cry lord in front of your brother. Don't embarrass your mother, (Spellers) Not your mother oooooo
  • (Mitch) Make your exit with care, that is my prayer.

My Unfortunate Erection

  • (Chip) It is tradition that the person eliminated from the competition is fair game for derision.
  • (Chip) My unfortunate erection, is destroying my perfection. It is my recollection that everything I once did I did perfectly.
  • (Chip) Because of Marigold Coneybear, because there's something and not a thing between us, I don't blame my brain but I do blame my penis.
  • (Chip) Anyone for M and M's delcious and appropriate. Any one for chewy goobers inexpensive. Anyone for buying the shit that I'm selling because my stiffy has ruined my spelling.
  • (Chip) Erection, erection, my unfortunate erection. Woah, it's ruining my life, ruining ruining ruining my life!!!
  • (Chip) Adult hood brings its own peculiar rejections.
  • (Chip) It will ruin your complexion, all because of my unfortunate erection. OH GOD