The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee | 2013-2014 Season

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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Jul 9 – Jul 27


Tickets- By Section : $25/$34/$46/$49 - Senior & Teen 5-18 Discounts

Recommended for ages 14+
***Matinee performances appropriate for all ages***

A hilarious, Tony Award-winning musical that follows six over-achieving and awkward adolescents on their quest for the spelling championship of a lifetime. Overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, the eccentric group of outsiders learns that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser. This tuneful, clever and heartwarming coming-of-age tale also invites volunteers from the audience to participate in each performance, ensuring new and unexpected comedy every night.

Music and lyrics by William Finn
Book by Rachel Sheinkin
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman and additional material by Jay Reiss
Directed and Choreographed by Melissa Rain Anderson
Musical Direction by Don Kot
Scenic Design by Kris Stengrevics
Costume Design by Amanda Doherty
Lighting Design by Emily Stork
Sound Design by Ian Hildreth
Dramaturg Jenni Werner
Stage Manager Frank Cavallo




Leaf Coneybear

JOSH CAREY is delighted to join the cast of The 25th Annual Putnam CountySpelling Bee in which he will be making his Geva Theatre Center debut. Recent credits include Lead Actor #3 in SUNY Fredonia’s Performing Arts Company production of The Dining Room by A.R. Gurney, Sky Masterson in Wheatland-Chili’s production of Guys and Dolls, and many more. Josh has also been seen in the PBS primetime TV show Broadway or Bust, in which he was trained by many Broadway and television professionals. He is currently a sophomore at the SUNY Fredonia, where he is studying for a B.F.A. degree in Musical Theatre. Josh would like to thank his family and friends for always supporting him and allowing him to chase his dreams.


Olive Ostrovsky


TESS DeFLYER is a senior Musical Theatre major at Nazareth College and anticipates graduation in the spring with a B.F.A. degree. Recent roles include: A Christmas Carol (Ensemble) at Geva Theatre, Quilters (Dana and others), Urinetown (Little Sally), and The Threepenny Opera (Dolly) at Nazareth College. Following graduation she hopes to pursue her passion for theatre wherever she can. She is so blessed to get to work with all the incredible people involved on the show, and for the loved ones in her life who never let her back down from her passion. “I love you all!”



Vice Principal Douglas Panch


RYAN DIETZ makes his Geva Theatre Center debut in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  New York credits include Illyria (Sir Andrew) with Prospect Theater Company.  National/International Tours include 1776 (Courier), All the Great Books (Abridged) (Professor) and Villains Tonight! (Pain, Original Cast) for Disney Creative Entertainment.  Regional credits include Paper Mill Playhouse, Riverside Theatre, Northern Stage, Cleveland Play House, Hangar Theatre, Clarence Brown Theatre, Great Lakes Theater, etc.  TV/Film credits include “Celebrity Ghost Stories,” “Target Audience,” “Office Jam,” commercials for Twinings Tea, Equal, Rennaisance Hotel and Virginia Lottery.  Ryan debuted his solo show, The Box Turtle Incident, at the People’s Improv Theater in NYC in 2013.  He received his B.M. in Music Theatre from Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music and Improv at The P.I.T.  Thanks to Melissa.  For Josh and Wally.  Visit: and on twitter @ryanarthurdietz



Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere


BELLA McGRATH is performing on Geva’s Mainstage for the first time. Previously she performed in the Fielding Nextstage in the young writers workshop as Bean in To Find Mona. She is entering her senior year as a B.F.A. Musical Theatre major at Nazareth College. Past credits include Varya in The Cherry Orchard, Little Becky Two Shoes in Urinetown and Velma Kelly in Chicago. Bella would like to thank her friends and family for their continuous support and, of course, a big thank you to her cast mates and the team here at Geva! She is beyond thrilled to be performing …Spelling Bee for you and hopes you enjoy it!



Rona Lisa Peretti

HAPPY McPARTLIN makes her Geva Theatre Center debut in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Broadway credits include Hands on a Hardbody. She has appeared in the National Tours of Memphis (First National Tour directed by Christopher Ashley), Hairspray (Velma Von Tussle), The Full Monty (Georgie). Happy received the BATEH award for Best Performance by an Actress for her work as Diana Goodman in the Houston Regional Premiere of Next To Normal, directed by Melissa Rain Anderson. Other credits include: Curtains (Jessica Cranshaw) at Paper Mill Playhouse and TUTS, The Drowsy Chaperone (The Chaperone), The Merchant of Venice (Portia), Into The Woods (Witch), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Rosaline), Urinetown (Pennywise), Born Blue directed by Anthony Rapp, Les Miserables and Sunset Boulevard. Television credits include “Hostages” (CBS) and “The Onion: Sportsdome” (Comedy Central). Happy is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Classical Studio.  Special thanks to our great director Melissa Rain Anderson, Geva and to my loving husband Brad Nacht! Proud member of Actors Equity Association. For more info visit


Mitch Mahoney


JAVAR LA’TRAIL PARKER is thrilled to be doing his community service with Geva Theatre Center and he hopes to bring comfort to all.  Before his life of crime, Javar was the 2000 Mansfield (OH) City Spelling Bee champion.  Some of his previous aliases include Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, Wickersham in Seussical, the Musical, and Crowther in History Boys.  Javar is a proud graduate of Baldwin-Wallace University.   He would like to thank his mom, Aaron, Penny, Vicky, Scott, and God.  With Him, all things (including rehabilitation), is possible. “I’m here to give comfort!”



Marcy Park


REBECCA RAND is thrilled to be appearing on the Geva Theatre Center stage once again. Previous credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (First Fairy), six years of A Christmas Carol, and two summers at Geva’s Summer Academy. She’s also performed with Blackfriar’s Theatre, Rochester Children’s Theatre, Eastman Opera Company and “Fight With Love” a benefit supporting Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS. She’s currently interning with the Susan Ware Dance Connection at CDS Monarch, a performance troupe of developmentally disabled adults. Rebecca just graduated from West Irondequoit High School and will attend Kent State University to study musical theatre in the fall.



Chip Tolentino

KELAND ALAKA’I SARNO is excited to be working on his first show at Geva Theatre Center.  Favorite credits include Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, and Kyle/Chad/Dewey in Legally Blonde: the Musical.  He is a recent graduate of Theatre and Speech from Wagner College. He loves outer space and his dog, Dexter (not necessarily in that order).


William Barfee

PAUL E. URRIOLA is overjoyed to return to Geva Theatre Center after being involved in the Summer Academy four years ago, and to finally get to play with William Barfeé. Paul is a junior musical theatre major at SUNY Buffalo where he has been in Les Miserables (Feuilly/Ensemble), The Rocky Horror Show (Doctor Scott), and Urinetown: The Musical (Officer Barrel). Thanks to family, friends, and mentors for their support and love. Enjoy the show and remember to smile.


Music and Lyrics

WILLIAM FINN is the writer and composer of Falsettos, for which he received two Tony Awards: Best Book of a Musical (with James Lapine) and Best Original Score.  He has also written and composed In Trousers, March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland (Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, two Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Awards, two Drama Desk Awards, the Lucille Lortel Award, and Guggenheim Fellowship in Musical Composition).  Mr. Finn wrote the lyrics to Graciela Daniele’s Tango Apasionado (music by the great Astor Piazzolla) and, with Michael Starobin, the music to Lapine’s version of The Winter’s Tale.  His musical, Romance in Hard Times, was presented at the Public Theater.  Recently, he wrote Painting You for Love’s Fire, a piece commissioned and performed by the Acting Company, based on Shakepeare’s sonnets.  For television, Mr. Finn provided the music and lyrics for the Ace Award-winning HBO cartoon “Ira Sleeps Over,” “Tom Thumb and Thumbelina,” “Pokey Little Puppy’s First Christmas,” and, with Ellen Fitzhugh, two “Brave little Toaster” cartoons.  Mr. Finn has written for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New Yorker.  A graduate of Williams College where he was awarded the Hutchinson Fellowship for Musical Composition, Finn now teaches a weekly master class at the NYU Tisch Graduate Program in Musical Theatre Writing.  His most recent projects include Elegies, A Song Cycle (Lincoln Center) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which ran on Broadway and has been produced nationally and internationally, as well.



RACHEL SHEINKIN’s Broadway credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Tony, Drama Desk awards); Off Broadway credits include Striking 12 (Lucille Lortel nomination), Off-Off Broadway credits include Serenade. Regional credits include Guthrie Theatre, Little House on the Prairie; Center Theater Group, Sleeping Beauty Wakes (Los Angeles Ovation Award); London: Blood Drive. Residencies, fellowships, commissions include: Eugene O’Neill National Theater Center, Baryshnikov Dance Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Manhattan Theatre Club, Deaf West, McCarter Theatre, Playwrights Horizons. Rachel is a volunteer mentor for TDF’s Open Doors program, a visiting instructor at Yale School of Drama, and adjunct faculty member of NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program.



REBECCA FELDMAN is the conceiver of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for which she won a Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk and Tony Nomination for Best Musical. She directed its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company in the summer of 2004. Rebecca conceived, directed, and performed in C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, the play upon which Spelling Bee is based, with her company The Farm. Previous projects with The Farm include Super (Atlantic Theatre Studio), V-Ville (West End Theatre), the work-in-progress Jade Winds or Why I Hate Florida. She has directed and performed in New York and regionally for the past 10 years including: New York Fringe Festival, Soho Rep, Adobe Theatre, New Dramatists, Mabou Mines and various downtown venues. Rebecca is a Lincoln Center Director’s Lab alum.


Additional Material

JAY REISS is a playwright. He is a Julliard graduate and provided additional material to the book for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Reiss appeared in the original workshops, Off-Broadway cast, and Broadway cast of the musical as Vice Principal Douglas Panch.


Director and Choreographer

MELISSA RAIN ANDERSON returns to Geva Theatre Center, where she has appeared in numerous productions, to direct The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee.  New York City credits include John and Jen for Yellow Line Theatricals and Roads Traveled at the Duplex. In London, Melissa had the honor of assisting Hal Prince on the world premiere of the new musical Paradise Found at the Menier Chocolate Factory starring Mandy Patinkin. Regional credits include the Houston premiere of Next to Normal for Stages Repertory Theatre (Houston Press Award best musical 2012),  Always….Patsy Cline for PCPA Theatrefest, Gregg Coffin’s new musical right next to me for The Human Race Theatre and The B Street Theater, The Fantasticks and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) for The Great River Shakespeare Festival, The Marvelous Wonderettes, Caps and Gowns and Nunsensations for The Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Side by Side by Sondheim for Playhouse on Park, Coffin’s Five Course Love, Caps and Gowns, Winter Wonderettes  and The Marvelous Wonderettes (a record breaking nine month run in Houston) for Stages Repertory Theater. Upcoming projects include directing Next To Normal at Southern Oregon University. Melissa lives in New York City with her husband, actor Jim Poulos. Please visit


Music Director

DON KOT is Resident Music Director and Affiliate Artist at Geva Theatre Center where he celebrates his twelfth season!  Geva productions include All Your Questions Answered, Company, The Music Man, Five Course Love, Sweeney Todd, The House in Hydesville, Cabaret, Urinetown, Our Town, Inherit the Wind, A Chorus Line, Camelot, 1776, A Christmas Carol, Convenience and as part of Hibernatus Interruptus, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, One For My Baby, right next to me and An Evening with Mrs. Kasha Davis, International Celebrity Housewife.  New York credits include the Women’s Culture Project, Roads Traveled, and elegies for angels, punks and raging queens.  Regional credits include The Best of Forbidden Broadway, Smokey Joe’s Café, Leader of the Pack, Honk!, and The Most Happy Fella.  Mr. Kot has played for the national touring productions of Fosse, Footloose, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Mamma Mia and Hairspray.   Mr. Kot is also the Director of Musical Theatre at Nazareth College.


Scenic Designer

KRIS STENGREVICS graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 2004 with a B.F.A. in Production Design.  He initially started at Geva Theatre Center as a props artisan in 2007. Today he is the Facilities Manager of the historic Geva building. Kris has had the opportunity to design for several other theaters, such as Greece Athena Performing Arts Center, JCC Center Stage and several venues for Eastman Opera Theatre Company.   He is very happy to be a part of his first Mainstage production at Geva Theatre Center, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee


Costume Designer

AMANDA DOHERTY is currently in her 13th season at Geva Theatre Center as the Costume Shop Supervisor.  While at Geva, she has had the opportunity to design costumes for the Wilson Mainstage productions of Informed Consent, The Book Club Play,The Underpants and Shear Madness, the Fielding Nextstage productions of Tinker to Evers to Chance, Stranded on Earth, Underneath the Lintel, Race of the Ark Tattoo, Lobby Hero and the Big Theatre for Little People productions of Meet Me Incognito and And Then They Came for Me.  Other designs include work for Kodak, Coca-Cola, Penn State’s University Resident Theatre Company and Cornell University, where she was a resident draper and Assistant Costume Shop Manager.  Her draping skills have also been seen in productions at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and Pennsylvania Center Stage.  She received her M.F.A. in Costume Design and Technology from Penn State University and now happily resides in Rochester with her husband and two Bumpus Hounds.


Lighting Designer

EMILY STORK’s lighting designs have been seen worldwide, including festivals in Italy, France, Scotland, and Israel and in the U.S. at places as diverse as PS 122, Dance Theatre Workshop, the Cherry Lane Theatre, the Public Theater, La Mama, St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Walker Arts Center, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, On the Boards, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, Lincoln Center and on the side of a building in Rochester. Emily’s designs at Geva have included the world premiere of Mat Smart’s Tinker to Evers to Chance, Greg Kotis’ All Your Questions Answered, and Seth Rozin’s Two Jews Walk Into a War… In 2003, she was the resident lighting designer for the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy where she worked with Maestro Gian Carlo Menotti on Wagner’s Lohengrin. Some favorite collaborations have been with Split Britches on Peggy Shaw’s To My Chagrin, Pig Iron Theatre Company’s James Joyce is Dead and So is Paris, Nora Jones’ Album Release Party for Little Broken Hearts at the Box in NYC. She was the Lighting Director at The Juilliard School for 12 years, where she designed countless shows and special events including the Leading Ladies Gala starring Audra McDonald and Barbara Cook and the Tempest Benefit reading with Sir Derek Jacobi. Emily is the festival lighting designer for the Rochester Fringe Festival where her designs have included the aerialist dance group, Bandaloop, the Cirque du Fringe in the Magic Crystal Spiegeltent and the outdoor informal installation at the Spiegel Garden.

Examples of her work can be found at:


Sound Designer

IAN HILDRETH has been designing and audio engineering at Geva Theatre Center for six years. Past designs include Pump Boys and Dinettes, MoM: A Rock Concert Musical, Next to Normal, Avenue Q, Fences, 3 Mo’ Divas and Carry It On. Associate designs include The Whipping Man, Dracula, Two Jews Walk Into a War and Radio Golf. Mr. Hildreth is a graduate of SUNY Brockport.



Stage Manager

FRANK CAVALLO has stage managed dozens of productions for Geva since first joining the company after it moved into the (then) newly renovated Richard Pine Theatre. Earlier this season Mr. Cavallo stage managed Informed Consent, Last Gas and The 39 Steps. Previous productions include Superior Donuts, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anything Goes, The Glass Menagerie, 5 Guys Named Moe, Below The Belt, A Raisin In The Sun, Dancing At Lughnasa, Jitney, Vigil and several world premieres for the Reflections New Plays Festival. He has also stage managed at several other regional theaters, has been the production manager for the Rochester Childrens’ Theatre at Nazareth College and has toured for Poetry In Motion with Ms. Salome Jens’ one woman show …About Anne, featuring the poetry of Anne Sexton.

Produced with support from:


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