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At the 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, six semi-pubescent middle-schoolers prepare to compete for the right to go on to the National Spelling Bee and fame and glory as a championship speller. As they “sing” their stories and use various techniques to spell the increasingly arcane words given to them, we root for all of them as the spelling bee becomes a metaphor for the transition from childhood to adulthood, with all its complexities. They learn that winning isn't everything and losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser.


LANGUAGE: A small number of profanities and vulgarities, but nothing that would add up to stronger than a “PG-13” rating. The language includes three uses of “Goddamn,” one use of “Jesus Christ,” four uses of “damn” and “Oh God,” and one use of “screw it.”




SEX: None. However, one young participant, Chip, worries in a song that the onset of puberty is wrecking his ability to concentrate, particularly since he has a crush on another contestant’s sister, Marigold Coneybear, and anytime she comes near him he is presented with an embarrassing anatomical dilemma.




OTHER: One of the contestants has same-sex parents, who show up to root for their child (and embarrass her, as all parents embarrass their teenaged children). One contestant from the local catholic school prays to Jesus for help, and He appears to offer her guidance.


FOR WHICH AUDIENCES?: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is suitable for general audiences and teenaged children. The mildly ribald “Chip’s Lament” may be inappropriate for pre-teens who have not yet experienced puberty, and the brief appearance of Jesus, while not at all blasphemous, is somewhat irreverent. The small amount of profane language may be discomfiting to conservative audience members.


RATING: If it were a movie, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee would be rated “PG-13.”

Spelling Bee is about 90 minutes long with no intermission and will be performed

Saturday, January 8th at 3pm & 7pm


Westerly Middle School - Auditorium

10 Sandy Hill Road, Westerly, RI 02891

Everyone attending the show must wear a mask at all times within the building, no exceptions. Groups are expected to sit together and distance within the auditorium.


Tickets can be purchased at the door 30 minutes prior to curtain. Tickets are  $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students.