Music and Lyrics by William Finn
Book by Rachel Sheinkin
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman
Additional Material by Jay Reiss Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre
It is the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – and six quirky adolescents are competing for the title of champion. A witty, clever and sophisticated story provides an incredibly nuanced and sensitive look at the oddity of competition that is a spelling bee. The Tony Award winner for Best Book, Spelling Bee is a heartwarming, yet eccentric look at the emotional impact of competition. We’re sure that this hilarious musical will cast its spell on Y-O-U.
GUEST SPELLERS Thursday Nov 20 – Jen McIntyre, UConn Women’s Softball Coach, Mike Young, Sweet Emotions Candy Shop Friday Nov 21 – Denise Merill, CT Secretary of State / Salome Raheim, Dean, School of Social Work Saturday Nov 22 – Mark Zinni, Anchor, WFSB Ch. 3 Evening News / Renee DiNino, Director of Public Affairs, I HEART MEDIA Wednesday Dec 3 – Dr. David Mills, Director of Bands and Marvin McNeill, Assistant Director of Athletic Bands, Jim Penders, UConn Men’s Baseball Coach, Susan Ouelette, Director of Marketing for Savings Institute Bank and Trust, Michael Buckley, YouTube Star of the WhatTheBuckShow Thursday Dec 4 - Sally M. Reis, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Friday Dec 5 - CT State Rep. Gregg Haddad, CT State Rep Mae Flexer, Richard Schwab, Dean, Neag School of Education Saturday Dec 6 - Stay tuned – it could be you! Sunday Dec 7 – Dr. Lucy Gilson, Professor and Director of Geno Auriemma Leadership Conference
What do theatre, sports, and spelling have in common? As we prepare to stage The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, we invite you to join us for a conversation about competition from the athletic field, to the classroom, to the stage. Whether it’s a football game, the National Spelling Bee, or American Idol, competition keeps us on the edge of our seats. What is it about competition that drives us and draws us in? What do athletics and academics have in common? And what does it all have to do with entertainment? CRT brings together a diverse panel to explore these issues from a range of perspectives.
When: Tuesday, Nov. 4, from 4-5:30 pm.
Where: Homer Babbidge Class of 1947 Room
Dr. Adrienne Macki-Braconi
Assistant Professor, Department of Dramatic Arts
Faculty Affiliate, Africana Studies Institute and American Studies Program
Dr. Scott W. Brown
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology
NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative
Co-Director, The GlobalEd 2 Project
Coordinator, The Cognition, Instruction and Learning Technology Program
Dr. Justin Evanovich
Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Educational Leadership
Managing Director, Husky Sport
Joseph S. Renzulli, Director
The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented
University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor
Raymond and Lynn Neag Professor of Gifted Education and Talent Development
Winner of the 2009 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education
I’m nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too? Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
- Emily Dickinson
There is a point in life when each of us must give up the luxury of being “nobody,” if only for a moment, to become “somebody” — no matter how dreary, exciting or frightening. These self-defining moments – some comic and some tragic — are the subject of the plays we are offering in the 2014-15 season.
The 2014-15 season begins with a fascinating new play, Olives and Blood, by UConn Professor Michael Bradford. It investigates Spain’s search for national identity following the Spanish Civil War through one man, Juan Luis Trescante Medina. Now, late in life, he faces a trial by memory for a 60-year-old killing, an event whose truth may define him as a champion or silence him as a coward. Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Gary English, directs this informative and compelling play by one of our own.
Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9 is a wild, erotic, gender-bending story that crosses oceans and centuries as Betty journeys to embrace her identity while managing her off-kilter family. It’s a hilarious, obscene romp populated with unforgettable characters, situational foolishness, and sight gags that leave room for a bittersweet conclusion of love and acceptance. I will be directing this shaggy dog of a play, one whose bark says as much about our sexual circus as the bite of its delicious humor.
The laughter will continue with the Tony Award winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a joyously embellished tale of the public school system in a head-on collision with brainy puberty and self-discovery through the amped up competition of a spelling bee. I am thrilled to welcome back the talented team of director Paul Mullins (I’m Connecticut, Much Ado About Nothing) and choreographer Gerry McIntyre (Legally Blonde and the 2013 CT Critics Circle Award winner for Best Choreography for Hairspray) to deliver this clever, heartwarming musical that promises to bring hearty laughter to the holiday season.
Aristophanes’ ribald comedy Lysistrata will invade our stage to warm our evenings with hilarity during the cold winter nights. First performed during the winter of 411 B.C., twenty years into the Peloponnesian War, this comedy called the people of Greece to courage and peace in the face of tragedy. The play’s heroine Lysistrata rallies the women of Greece to discover their power to end the war with great comic consequences and startlingly current commentary.
As the weather warms, the world premiere of Band of the Black Hand comes to the stage guided by the deft hands of Split Knuckle Theatre’s Artistic Director Greg Webster and Puppet Arts Professor Bart. P. Roccoberton. This noir style journey of one man’s search for justice will combine theatrical styles to create a sensual, dark and mysterious world. The production will be featured in the summer of 2015 at the National Conference of the Puppeteers of America.
We will close our season with Associate Artistic Director Dale AJ Rose’s staging of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This magical comedy, set in Victorian times, ends our yearlong search for self, as we follow four young lovers into the fairy forest to discover their hearts’ true desires. Midsummer — which, after all, concerns the production of a play to bless a new marriage — is an apt choice for closing a season where we are welcoming our new MFA graduate actors as they begin their three-year journey to realize themselves as artists in partnership with Connecticut Repertory Theatre.
I look forward to embarking on this season with them and you. I hope we all discover something new about becoming “somebody” — if only for a moment.
Vincent J. Cardinal
Head, Dept. of Dramatic Arts
CRT, part of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut, is the professional producing arm of the Department of Dramatic Arts. CRT stages an array of the best in theatre, from classic plays and musicals to premieres of the latest contemporary work, featuring some of the nation’s finest theatre professionals on stage with the department’s most promising students. The synergy between professionals and advanced student artists creates extraordinary theatre and a unique learning environment.