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25th Annual Putnam County

Spelling Bee

Music and Lyrics 
William Finn
Book by
Rachel Sheinkin
Conceived by
Rebecca Feldman
Additional Materials  Originally Directed on Broadway by
Jay Reiss James Lapine

Originally produced on Broadway by David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo Barrington Stage Company, Second Stage Theatre

Directed By

Music Director Tech & Design Director
Ellyn Schneider Heidi Cissell Zachary Borquez
Assistant Director Choreography by
Tessa Anderson Celeste Goldes
  Elizabeth Dusek
  Nicholas Heard
  Danika Koscelnick
  Dominic Land
Krishanu Nigam    
Ashley Sanft    
Jadyn Saly     
Emily Salzman   
Garrett Wilson   


Produced by ITS Troupe 6074 and OPPAA

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).

Any video and/or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited.

   Director's Note

     The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with its lively score and relatable story seemed the perfect fit as we cautiously but optimistically jumped back into live theatre here at Oak Park High School.  After not performing live for over a year, we weren’t sure what being back would look like and although it does look different, as you will see at this performance, the magic is still there.  The resilience, enthusiasm, dedication, and sense of humor from all of the students working on this production from actors to designers has been inspiring.  I know I speak for the entire production team when I say how lucky we are to be working with such a talented bunch!

     This show’s original Broadway production was the winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring the fast-paced, wildly funny, and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a vibrant score by William Finn, this Bee is one unforgettable experience. We hope that you enjoy this riotous ride, complete with audience participation, as a quirky group of mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime.  We are so glad to have you joining us to laugh (and cry) as we journey through the Bee and find out who will be crowned champion!

-Ellyn Schneider

Musical Numbers

1. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – Company

2. The Rules – Vice Principal Panch & Company

3. My Friend the Dictionary – Olive Ostrovsky & Company 

4. Pandemonium – Chip Tolentino & Company

5. I’m Not That Smart – Leaf Coneybear &  Family 

6. Magic Foot – William Barfee & Company 

7. Magic Foot Playoff – Company

8. Pandemonium (Reprise) – Company

9. Rona Moment #2 – Rona Lisa Peretti

10. Prayer of the Comfort Counselor – Mitch Mahoney & Company 

11. Chip’s Lament – Chip Tolentino

12. Woe Is Me – Schwarzy, Dads & Company 

13. Spelling Montage – Vice Principal Panch & Spellers 

14. I’m Not That Smart (Reprise) – Leaf Coneybear & Company

15. I Speak Six Languages – Marcy Park & Girls 

16. Jesus – Marcy Park, Jesus & Girls

17. The I Love You Song – Olive Ostrovsky, Olive’s Mom & Olive’s Dad 

18. Crepuscule-William Barfee 

19. Woe Is Me (Reprise) – Schwarzy & Mitch Mahoney

20. Rona Moment # 3 – Rona Lisa Peretti

21. Second (Part 1) – Olive Ostrovsky, William Barfee & Company 

22. Weltanschauung – Company 

23. Olive & Barfee Pas De Deux – Company 

24. Second (Part 2) – Olive Ostrovsky, William Barfee & Company 

25. The Champion – Rona Lisa Peretti &  Company 

26. Epilogues - Company 

27. Finale & Bows – Company 

There will be one 15 minute intermission


Elizabeth Dusek

Olive Ostrovsky
Nicholas Heard

Mitch Mahoney
Danika Koscelnick

Marcy Park
Dominic Land

William Barfee
Krishanu Nigam

Vice Principal Douglas Panch
Jadyn Saly

Leaf Coneybear
Emily Salzman

Logainne Schwarztandgrubenierre
Ashley Sanft

Rona Lisa Peretti
Garrett Wilson

Chip Tolentino

Creative Team

Ellyn Schneider

Heidi Cissell

Music Director
Zachary Borquez

Technical and Design Director
Tessa Anderson

Assistant Director
Celeste Goldes

Krishanu Nigam

Costume Design Lead
Zac Pelc

Lighting Design Lead
Elisha Tong

Set & Prop Design Lead/Sound Tech
Janelle Avendano

Set & Prop Design Team
Joseph Bongiovi

Design Team
Brooke Bruener

Costume Team
Olivia Cass

Costume Team
Tessa Fybel

Set & Prop Design Team/Mic Wrangler
Emily Hallevi

Set & Prop Design Team/Mic Wrangler
Noelle Kratt

Set & Prop Design Team/Mic Wrangler
Rebecca Paiotti Da Silva

Costume Team
Audrey Radick

Costume Team
Maddox Rodriguez

Lighting Tech
Noah Simon

Design Team
Eden Yelinek

Sound Tech
Vincent Zohar

Design Team
Edward Park

OPPAA President
Mary Salzman

OPPAA Volunteer Coordinator
Carol Riegert

OPPAA Treasurer
Todd Logsdon

OPPAA Program and T-Shirts
Zoraida Kerr

Production Photographer
William Finn

Lyrics and Music By
Rebecca Feldman

Conceived By
Rachel Sheinkin

Book by
The Farm

Based On An Original Play By


"Act well your part; there all the honor lies."

The International Thespian Society (ITS) is an internationally recognized honor society for theatre students that promotes and recognizes student excellence in the theatre arts.  There are ITS Troupes at high schools and middle schools across the United States and abroad.  Students earn membership by participating in productions and accumulating points based on their theatre work. For more information visit Formed in Fall of 2014, our troupe started with just a few enthusiastic theatre kids who had been involved in productions at Oak Park High School.  They wanted to expand their theatre experiences and bring more visibility to the community. With the guidance of a couple of dedicated theatre moms, these students chartered Troupe 6074 of The International Thespian Society. As a troupe we aim to raise awareness for the importance of theatre arts and education through philanthropy, promotion, and being a positive community influence.  We incorporate unique individualistic qualities to form a unified group that stands for cooperation, compassion, creativity and communication through theatre.

ITS Troupe 6074

OPPAA President Edward Park and Board Members, Mary Salzman, Carol Riegert and Todd Logsdon

OPPAA is a community of volunteers committed to promoting and supporting the theatre arts program at OPHS. OPPAA funds the productions through donations and produces the Fall and Spring performances. We provide support in all areas of production, from costumes to sets to concessions to ticket sales and everything in between. OPPAA also provides annual scholarships for performing arts seniors who intend to continue their education in performing arts related fields. Our goal is to encourage and guide students in all aspects of theatre and give them the opportunity to cultivate, grow and learn about the areas of production that interest them both on and off stage. Most importantly, we hope the students learn to love theatre!

Based on C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, an original play by The Farm

The Barrington Stage Company workshop of THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE was originally co-directed by Michael Barakiva and Rebecca Feldman.

Who's Who

Elizabeth Dusek (Olive Ostrovsky)

Hello everybody!  I am so excited to be playing Olive Ostrovsky in my third show, but first musical at Oak Park High School.  I’m so hyped to be in person for my sophomore year, and inside the pavilion.  Thank you so much to our amazing cast and crew, you guys are all so talented!  I will definitely save a chair for my mom and my dad, and all of the epic audience members coming to see this show.

Nicholas Heard (Mitch Mahoney)

Hey folks! My name is Nico Heard and I am absolutely juiced-up to play the role of Mitch Mahoney in my first ever show here at Oak Park High School! A huge thanks to all the crew, director, and assistant director who have made this show possible. Looking forward to a rootin-tootin good time!

Danika Koscelnick (Marcy Park)

Hi, My name is Danika Koscelnick and I’m in 9th grade. This is my first production here at OPHS and I’m super excited to be a part of it! Musical theatre has always been a big part of my life and I’m overjoyed that I get to perform in person. I’m very thankful for my family, friends, cast, and crew who supported me throughout the entire show!

Dominic Land (William Barfee)


Hi! My name is Dominic and this is my 9th show at Oak Park High School! I’m a part of choir, drama, and Comedy Sportz and I love every single one of them! I’d like to thank everyone involved in this production for making it go so smoothly! On top of that, I’d also like to thank my family for not making me feel lugubrious! Enjoy the show!

Krishanu Nigam (Vice Principal Douglas Panch)

Hi! My name is Krishanu Nigam and I am so excited to be playing Vice Principle Panch and to be working on costumes for my fifth show at Oak Park! I would like to thank the design team, OPPAA, and everyone else involved in this show for making it possible to finally be performing in person again, and Panch is very very very excited to see his soulmate-ahem, I mean co-host, Rona Lisa, at this year’s bee.

Jadyn Saly (Leaf Coneybear)

Hello y'all, I am so excited to be playing Leaf Coneybear in the play. I would like to thank the cast and crew for helping me come out of my shell and making me feel included. I never thought I'd make so many friends during this production, or any at all, for that matter. Thank you all, you made me realize that I like-.. No, I love to act!

Emily Salzman (Logainne Schwarztandgrubenierre)

Hi everyone!! I am absolutely stoked to be playing Schwarzy in my 9th show here at Oak Park! I want to thank all of the cast, crew, and our amazing director Ellyn, and our AD Tessa! Lastly I want to thank my amazing family for all of their support! I’m so proud of all of you and so thankful to be performing live! Peace, Love, CYSTITIS!!

Ashley Sanft (Rona Lisa Peretti)

Hey everyone! I’m Ashley Sanft and I’m a senior in my eighth show here! I’m so appreciative to be working with such a wonderful team of people, this show has been such a blast! I’d love to thank the crew and costumes team for all their hard work and dedication. Good lord, that’s what’s swell about spelling bees!


Garrett Wilson (Chip Tolentino)

Hi I’m Garrett Wilson,I am a senior and this is my 9th show with Oak Park and I play Chip Tolentino. Omphaloskepsis is the biggest word I know how to spell

Ellyn Schneider (Director)


Ellyn Schneider  began her theatre career performing with her high school’s (Chatsworth ‘84) Thespian Troupe.  Her theatrical career was then put on hold for many years as she earned her teaching credential from Cal State Northridge, taught elementary school, and had two sons -both of whom joined theatre at OPHS. It was at that time  she was cast in her favorite role ever-’drama mama’!  Ellyn started her theatre journey with Oak Park High School in 2011 first as a volunteer, then OPPAA President. Eventually she moved into the role of Production Manager, a position she’s held for the past 6 years. She also serves as the Thespian Troupe Advisor since chartering the Troupe in 2014.  Ellyn is thrilled and honored to now be making her directorial debut at Oak Park High School and could not have asked for better collaborators to work with. It has been an absolute dream working with such talented actors and designers, and she is incredibly grateful to her production team- Heidi Cissell, Zach Borquez, Edward Park, Mary Salzman, Todd Logsdon and Carol Riegert.  She would also like to thank her amazing AD, Tessa Anderson and talented choreographer, Celeste Goldes. Lastly, Ellyn would like to thank her family for their love and support. And to our audience, thank you for joining us as we welcome back live theatre!


Heidi Cissell (Music Director)


Heidi Cissell arrived on the LA music scene in 1999.  Prior to that, she was teaching and performing in the Chicago area.  She earned her B.A. degree from Ball State University and earned her master’s degree in voice from Indiana University, receiving several awards for her accomplishments in the music field. 

Her performance credits include both piano and voice, with a concentration on opera and oratorio solo work, choral conducting.  She has performed in various venues, most recently at the Eglise de la Sainte-Trinite Cathedral, the Church of Ste. Mere Eglise in Paris, France and the Bayeux Cathedral in Normandy.  

 At Oak Park High School, Ms. Cissell teaches Choir and serves as ASB Advisor.  In 2007 she received the “OPHS Unified School District Outstanding Employee Award”, and was the CLvFFie Award Finalist in the field of Education. Ms. Cissell received the Star Among Stars Award in 2010 and the Jerry Herman Award 2013 for Vocal Direction of the Oak Park High School production of “Les Miserables” and was a 2019 Jerry Herman Award nominee for her music direction of “The Music Man”. Ms. Cissell wishes to thank her colleagues: Ellyn Schneider, Zach Borquez, and the OPPAA Board for all of their hard work and for the special memories of working together that she will always cherish. 

Zachary Borquez (Technical and Design Director)


Born and raised in Southern California, Zachary Borquez started playing the trombone in 4th grade, although his primary instrument is the trumpet. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (Composition) from the University of California, Davis.  He earned his Master of Music degree in Conducting as well as his Teaching Credential from California State University, Northridge. Mr. Borquez is super excited to work on the school musical each year because it is truly the full collaboration of the performing arts (dramatic and scenic art, vocal and instrumental music and dance). Congrats to ALL the students involved in the production and a huge thank you to the dedicated parents who help to make the program what it is!

Tessa Anderson (Assistant Director)


My name is Tessa Anderson. I am a senior, and I have been doing theater for all four years of high school as cast and crew. For Spelling Bee I am assistant director. I would like to thank Ellyn Schneider and all of our wonderful cast, crew, and volunteers!

Celeste Goldes (Choreographer)


I am so thrilled to be a part of this amazing show! This will be my second show with OPHS drama/ITS. I cannot wait to see my choreography brought to life. I am so proud of the actors for working so hard with me!

Krishanu Nigam (Costume Design Lead)


Zac Pelc (Lighting Design Lead)


Elisha Tong (Set & Prop Design Lead/Sound Tech)


Janelle Avendano (Set & Prop Design Team)


Joseph Bongiovi (Design Team)


Brooke Bruener (Costume Team)


Olivia Cass (Costume Team)


Tessa Fybel (Set & Prop Design Team/Mic Wrangler)


Emily Hallevi (Set & Prop Design Team/Mic Wrangler)


Noelle Kratt (Set & Prop Design Team/Mic Wrangler)


Rebecca Paiotti Da Silva (Costume Team)


Audrey Radick (Costume Team)


Maddox Rodriguez (Lighting Tech)


Noah Simon (Design Team)


Eden Yelinek (Sound Tech)


Vincent Zohar (Design Team)


William Finn (Lyrics and Music By)

Mr. 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 bye 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.

Rebecca Feldman (Conceived By)

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 is Associate Producer on TRANSPARENT, the MUSICAL FINALE and served as Staff Writer on the finale as well. She is currently developing an episodic drama with Big Kid Pictures, called LA COYOTE, which has been selected to the WeForShe’s 2019 Writeher List.

She is an alumna of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab as well as the AFI Directing Workshop for Women where she won the Jean Firstenburg Award for Best Short.

Her short films include, MY FIRST TIME DRIVING (AFI Jean Firstenburg Award, Best Short at Lake Arrowhead Film Fest, Best of Shorts at Outfest), A/V CLUB (TV Pilot, NYTVF), UBER ALICE (Woodstock Film Fest), DEAD CAT (Producer, Tribeca Film Fest) and IRVING (Official Selection Rhode Island Film Fest, Official Selection USA Film Fest, Ft. Lauderdale Film Fest, Atlanta Jewish Film Fest). 

Rachel Sheinkin (Book by)

Broadway: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Tony, Drama Desk awards); Off Broadway: Striking 12 (Lucille Lortel nomination), Off-Off: Serenade. Regional: Guthrie, 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.

The Farm (Based On An Original Play By)

The Farm was founded in 2000 by Rebecca Feldman, Artistic Director.  It is a collective of writers and performers, including Jay Reiss, Dan Fogler, and Sarah Saltzberg.  The Farm’s interest is in the role of improvisation in creating new work for the theatre.  The Farm initially designates a two-week intensive period in which to discover, develop, and rehearse a play from the impulses borne mainly out of the pressure of a deadline.  Previous projects include “Super” (at Atlantic Theatre Studios), “Why I Hate Florida” (workshop at White Wave in DUMBO) and “C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E” (at the Present Company Theatorium in October 2002), on which “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is based.  The character and original dialogue of “Beth Marguiles,” “Vice President Douglas Panch,” “Mr. Barfee,” and “Logan Schwarzengrubenierre” were created by Rebecca Feldman, Jay Reiss, Dan Fogler, and Sarah Saltzberg, respectively.











Personal Ads

“JADYN - We beLEAF in you! Break ALL your legs. We’re so proud and excited for you 😁🎉.

Love, Mom, Dad, Sky and Monke”


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Elizabeth - We love you so much and are very proud of you. “Break a leg” in your first high school musical. Love, Mom & Dad.

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Congratulations on working so hard on both the OPHS cast and crew teams for the last 4 years! 
We are so proud of all your hard work, sincere efforts and the invaluable lessons you've learned.
With much adoration and love,
Mama and Papa



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