11th Hour Theatre Company Brings Next Step Concert Series Down The Shore

Musical Theatre Company Presents The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee to the Gateway Playhouse in Somers Point


11th Hour Theatre Company is bringing its sold-out Next Step Concert Series to the Jersey Shore this summer.  11th Hour is excited to present The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – In Concert at the Gateway Playhouse in Somers Point. The concert runs August 23-26. Tickets cost $34 (including the $4 service fee). Tickets are available online at www.11thhourtheatrecompany.org. Tickets can also be purchased at the Gateway Playhouse’s website www.gatewaybythebay.org or by calling their box-office at 609-653-0553. The Gateway Playhouse is located at 738 Bay Ave in Somers Point, New Jersey.

“11th Hour is thrilled to introduce our Next Step Concert Series to the audience at Gateway.  Somers Point is so close to Philadelphia and we thought working with Gateway Playhouse would be a perfect way to introduce 11th Hour to the broader Philadelphia area,” said 11th Hour Producing Artistic Director Michael Philip O’Brien. “We are excited to have such an exceptional group of local actors and musicians to bring this hilarious and heart-warming musical to life!”

The TONY Award winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a clever and entertaining musical about an eclectic group of six students who vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While they compete, they candidly disclose hilarious and touching stories from their home lives. Hailed by The New York Times as “Effortlessly Endearing.” The musical has music and lyrics by William Finn, a book by Rachel Sheinkin, and was conceived by Rebecca Feldman with additional material by Jay Reiss.

A riotous ride, complete with audience participation, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a delightful den of comedic genius. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a fast-paced crowd pleaser and an instant favorite.

The concert performance is directed by 11th Hour Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Michael Philip O’Brien. He has assembled a stellar cast for this production. Michaela Shuchman is playing Olive. Nichalas Parker is playing Barfee. Bryan Black is playing Leaf. Hanna Gaffney is playing Logan. Rajeer Alford is playing Mitch. Jenna Pinchbeck is playing Rona and Conner McAndrews is playing Panch.  Heeya Kim is Marcy and Angel Sigala is Chip.

The Production Team includes Gina Giachero as the Music Director. Toby Pettit is the Sound Designer. The band includes Giachero on keyboards, Kanako Omae Neale on drums, Mia Angelella on cello, and William Mullen on reeds.

Performance Schedule

Thursday, August 23 @ 8pm
Saturday, August 25 @ 8pm
Sunday, August 26 @ 2pm

Background on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
The musical was based upon C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, an original improvisational play created by Rebecca Feldman and performed by The Farm, a New-York-based improvisational comedy troupe. Sarah Saltzberg, Wendy Wasserstein’s weekend nanny, was in the original production, and Wasserstein recommended that Finn see the show. Finn brought Rachel Sheinkin on board, and they worked together with Feldman to transform C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E into a scripted full-length musical.

The musical opened Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre in 2005. The production won several awards, among them the 2005 Lucille Lortel Awards, Outstanding Musical and 2005 Drama Desk Awards, Outstanding Ensemble Performance.

Spelling Bee premiered on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre on April 15, 2005. It was directed by James Lapine and the choreographed by Dan Knechtges. The show won TONY Awards for Best Book (Rachel Sheinkin) and Best Featured Actor (Dan Fogler).

Background on The Next Step Concert Series
With the Next Step Concert Series, 11th Hour brings concert versions of musicals to the stage featuring a live band and excellent lighting and sound design.  The series is intimate, spontaneous and inventive – everything audiences have come to expect from 11th Hour.  Musicals are stripped down to their very essence…good storytelling and incredible music.  

About 11th Hour Theatre Company

11th Hour Theatre Company is the only company in Philadelphia dedicated to producing all musicals, all the time. Intimate by design, 11th Hour creates a lasting experience with the audience by producing character-driven musical theatre.

11th Hour produces a broad spectrum of musicals that fill a niche in the diverse Philadelphia theatre landscape: musicals that spark the creativity of artists and the imaginations of audiences.  Over the past eleven seasons, they have produced seventeen full-scale musicals, nine of which were Philadelphia premieres.  In addition to the World Premiere of their first commission, Field Hockey Hot, the company has contributed to the development of several new musicals beginning with Angst, a ten-minute musical that premiered in the Spark Festival of 2005. 11th Hour produced the American premiere of Austentatious that went on to success at the New York Musical Theatre Festival; and a 29-hour reading of Fantasy Football, the Musical? before its production at New York University. Both Austentatious and Fantasy Football have since been published and are now professionally licensed. In the fall of 2014, 11th Hour partnered with University of the Arts to workshop Persephone Unplugged, a new twist on the classic Greek myth. With support from the Independence Foundation, 11th Hour recently commissioned their second musical from a local writing team, a Civil War-themed project currently titled Something Like a War.

11th Hour has received a total of 55 Barrymore Award nominations. Their work has been recognized with 15 awards, including five recently for last season’s Lizzie (including Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical), and several individual awards for their artists.  Founding member Steve Pacek was also the proud recipient of the 2012 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist. In 2013, 11th Hour became the first-ever recipient of the June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theater.

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