Monday, February 26, 2024

Music Theater Works Presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee March 7 - 31st, 2024

ChiIL Mama’s ChiIL Picks List: 

Family Friendly Shows On Our Radar




Perfect for All Ages, with Adult Only Performances, Spelling Bee Invites Audiences to Join This Group of Unique and Dedicated Students as they Compete for the Spelling Bee Championship in this Hilarious Musical 

Tickets Only $25 for those Younger than 25 Years Old.

Music Theater Works is proud to announce the cast and creative team for the first production of its 2024 season, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, in the North Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts In Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, March 7 - 31. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, conceived by Rebecca Feldman, additional material by Jay Reiss, music and lyrics by William Finn and book by Rachel Sheinkin, is directed and choreographed by Christopher Pazdernik, assistant directed and choreographed by Keely Vasquez and music directed by Michael McBride. The schedule includes a preview performance Thursday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. I'll be out for the press opening March 8th so check back soon for my full review. 

The performance schedule is Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 16 at 2 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. The two performances: Saturday, March 23 and March 27 at 7:30 p.m., are for guests 18 years old and above as words spelled will be of an adult nature and may not be suitable for children.Tickets are now on sale from $39 to $106 with tickets for guests 25 years old and younger available at half-price at or by calling the Music Theater Works box office at the North Shore Center, 847.673.6300. Group discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more by contacting 847.920.5360.

Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has won the hearts of theatergoers across the country with its mix of wit, wills, and audience participation. Join this group of unique and dedicated students as they compete for the spelling bee championship that celebrates the pursuit of the ultimate prize while finding the joy of being oneself.

The cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee includes Neala Barron (she/her, Rona Lisa Peretti); Zach Kunde (he/him, Douglas Panch); Michael Davis Arnold (he/him, Mitch Mahoney); Will Koski (he/him, William Barfée); Rachel Guth (she/her, Olive Ostrovsky); Jamie Dillon Grossman (she/her, Logainne  Schwartzandgrubenierre); Mai Hartwich (she/her, Marcy Park); Joe Lewis (he/him, Leaf Coneybear) and Brandon Acosta (he/him, Chip Tolentino). The understudies include Joselle Reyes (she/her, Marcy/Olive U/S); Kevin Parra (he/him, Leaf/Chip U/S); Dane Strange (he/him, Barfee/Mitch U/S); Lilli Galuzzo (she/they, Logainne/Rona U/S) and Bryson Howard (he/him, Panch U/S). 

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’s creative team is Christopher Pazdernik (any with respect, director/choreographer); Keely Vasquez (she/her, assistant director and assistant choreographer); Michael McBride (he/him, music director); Amber Wuttke (she/her, fight & intimacy choreographer); Allison Gonzales (she/her, stage manager); Ethan Colish (he/him, assistant stage manager); Ben Lipinski (he/him, scenic designer/paint charge); Ab Rieve (they/them, props designer); Kristen Brinatti (she/her, costume designer); Melanie Saso (she/her, asst. hair, wig and makeup designer); Levi K. Wilkins (he/him, lighting designer); Forrest Gregor (he/him, sound designer) and Andersonville Scenic Studios (scene shop).


Christopher Pazdernik returns to Music Theater Works after making his debut with 2023’s Avenue Q. Pazdernik is best-known for his work as artistic director of Refuge Theatre Project (Jeff Awards, Best Director and Best Production of a Musical, High Fidelity); a long association with Porchlight Music Theatre--including directing eight Porchlight Revisits productions; three years of directing Who's Holiday at Theater Wit and his current role as producing director at Theo. Also an openly HIV+ artist, Pazdernik is the creator and producer of the benefit concert “Belting for Life” and co-captain of Team Option Up! for AIDS Run/Walk Chicago.


Keely Vasquez is an actor, singer, teacher and voiceover artist.  Recent acting credits include: Dear Evan Hansen (First National tour), Spamalot (Mercury Theater Chicago) and Next to Normal (Writers Theatre). Other Chicago theatrical credits include shows at Porchlight Music Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre and The Broadway Playhouse. She has served as casting associate for Mercury Theater Chicago since 2021. For nearly a decade, she toured the world singing with Barry Manilow. 


Dr. Michael McBride is a Jeff Award-winning music director, internationally-performed composer, performer and educator. He is excited to return to Music Theatre Works after music directing Lerner & Loewe’s Brigadoon and Billy Elliot. Credits include Big Fish (Boho Theatre, Jeff Award); Revolution(s) (Goodman Theatre); Grease (Drury Lane Theatre); The Scarlet Pimpernel (Engeman Theatre, NY); Rent, New Faces Sing 1951, PorchlightPalooza, Broadway by the Decade (Porchlight Music Theatre); Passing Strange (Theo Ubique); 49th Annual Jeff Awards Ceremony; Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Robber Bridegroom, Jesus Christ Superstar, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Pippin,What a Wonderful World (workshop), Man of La Mancha, Mamma Mia, Into The Woods, The Little Mermaid (Timber Lake Playhouse); The Boys and the Nuns (composer & MD), Fun Home, Violet, Cabaret, Tintypes, She Loves Me, Spring Awakening, Hot Mikado, Urinetown, Into the Woods (Loyola University Chicago); The Christmas Foundling (composer and music director; Pride Arts Center); Footloose (Wallace Bowl); The Drake Hotel holiday programming and The Cabaret Project in Chicago, St. Louis and Lake Geneva. He is proud to be music director at A Church 4 Me MCC in Chicago. Having earned a DM in composition from Northwestern University, He has served on faculty of Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago and North Park University where he is a visiting assistant professor.


Subscriptions are now available at for its 44th season including 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, March 7 – 31, 2024, followed by Carousel, August 8 – August 18, 2024, Little Shop of Horrors, October 24 – November 17, 2024 and concludes with Legally Blonde: The Musical, December 19 – 29, 2024. All performances are at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd. Single tickets go on sale for the 2024 Season Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 12 p.m. 


Music Theater Works is a resident professional not-for-profit music theater founded in 1980. During its 44-year history it has presented more than 150 productions and intimate presentations. Music Theater Works is a professional theater company whose mission is to present works for the musical stage including historic repertoire, revitalizing the Golden Age of Broadway and earlier works, celebrating the Great American Songbook and introducing modern classics. 

JOYCE SAXON is the 2024 Music Theater Works Season Sponsor.

Preview: Thursday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. 

Opening Night Performance: Friday, March 8 at 7 p.m. 

Saturday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 10 at 2 p.m. (Post Show Discussion: Behind the Scenes with Tom Shea)

Wednesday, March 13 at 2 p.m.

Friday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 16 at 2 p.m.

Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. 

Sunday, March 17 at 2 p.m. (Post Show Discussion: Behind the Scenes with Tom Shea)

Wednesday, March 20 at 2 p.m.

Friday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. (Adults Only) *

Sunday, March 24 at 2 p.m.

Thursday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. (Adults Only) *

Sunday, March 31 at 2 p.m. 

Tickets: $39 to $106, tickets for guests 25 years old and younger are available for half-price.

Music Theater Works Box Office: (847) 673-6300


No comments:

Post a Comment