The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee | pH Comedy Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Courtesy pH Theater

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee 

When: Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Nov. 6 2016
Price: $20, $15 students
whatisph.com
Some of the actors in this revival of William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s 2005 comic musical are not fabulous singers, and the production itself, as evidenced by the simple set and costumes, is very low budget, but that hardly matters because the comic acting in the show is first rate. And that’s all you need to make this funny, big-hearted show fly. Everybody in this sweet little show finds the funny in their quirky, neurotic characters without turning them into goofy cartoons, and losing the laughs. And they do this without mocking these gifted but annoying spelling bee kids, or overplaying the comedy, they do it, by making us like their characters first, as Jason Geis does in his hilarious portrayal of the gifted but annoying William Barfee, and then gently poking fun at them. Though it seems unfair to single out Geis in an ensemble as tight as this one. --Jack Helbig

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