Musical theatre returns to OU stage with ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

Performances are November 11-14, 18-21 in the Varner Studio Theatre

Musical theatre at Oakland University makes a triumphant return to live performances this November in the Varner Studio Theatre with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee!

Winner of the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, this musical takes audiences back to that awkward stage of life as six of the most eccentric kids in the school district vie for the coveted title in the sixth-grade spelling bee.

“With the audience serving as the county’s community members, Spelling Bee is fast-paced and uproariously funny, but also connects us to personal stories of these talented kiddos, which are bound to pull on your heartstrings,” said Anthony Guest, director and associate professor of theatre at OU.

Based on the book by Rachel Sheinkin, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, features music and lyrics by William Finn.

A girl holds up a copy of a dictionary.
Rachel Sarles as “Olive.” Photo credit JLBoone Photography

“Being back on stage is such a euphoric feeling, and I am so thrilled to be doing a show that means so much to me,” said Alec Diem, who plays the roles of Chip Tolentino and Carl Dad. “I am no stranger to the musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as this is my third time doing the show. It has been such a joy to re-familiarize myself with the material, while playing a role that is so outside of who I am in real life. I love working with the wonderful cast and crew, and I can’t wait for this show to open!”

Tickets for the musical are $12 for students, $22 for the general public, and can be purchased online at

For more information, visit

Performance Schedule

Thursday, November 11 at 8:00 p.m.

Friday, November 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 13 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 14 at 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 18 at 8:00 p.m.

Friday, November 19 at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 20 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 21 at 2:00 p.m.

**Oakland University has instituted a COVID vaccine mandate for audiences in the Studio Theatre and the Lab Theatre because of the intimate proximity of the performers and audience. Audience members should be prepared to show their vaccination cards and photo ID along with their OU health screening results. We will not save or photograph the documents, nor keep records of any sort.

All of our events, even free, require an advanced ticket from Ticket buyers may receive an email with special instructions on the day of the event. Tickets may be printed at home or presented on mobile devices at the door. ALL EVENTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Any changes or additions to our season calendar will be posted on our website. Maps and parking information are available at

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