The Spelling Bee (Sheiness)

by  Marsha Sheiness

Full Length Play, Dark Comedy  /  4m, 4f

A pleasure.... Discipline, tightly written.... Scores those who will use any means to achieve a success of the moment." - New York Daily News
"Fresh and eminently playable ... funny in a grotesque vein." - Village Voice

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The Spelling Bee (Sheiness)

by  Marsha Sheiness

License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 4f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Mystery/Thriller
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Off-Broadway
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Scene work
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

A taut, suspenseful comedy that builds to a shocking climax as four children (written to be played by adults) compete in the televised National Championship runoffs for the best speller in the country. Each mother is determined that her child will win, while the Quizzer intends the show to be a springboard into the "big time."

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Reviews

REVIEWS

"A pleasure.... Discipline, tightly written.... Scores those who will use any means to achieve a success of the moment."" - New York Daily News

"Fresh and eminently playable ... funny in a grotesque vein." - Village Voice

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: A televison studio. The set for the National Spelling Bee contest.
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

4m, 4f

FREDDIE STANS (38-50) - The Quizzer  Charming, likes children, has sense of humor and is driven by ambition.
STEVE ROBERTS (11-14) - From the East. Precocious, quickwitted, likable, self-assured and extremely pleased with who is is.
MAGGIE ROBERTS (35-40) - Steve's mother. Dotes on her son. Always feels she has his best interest at heart.
NINA GOLD (11-14) - From the North. Independent, honest, likable, strong convictions. straight-forwad, and sensitive to the world around her. Outspoken like a child, not as an adult.
BART POWELL (11-14) - From the South. Sweet, even-tempered, popular.
THELMA POWELL (35-40) - Barts mother. A Southern Belle, delicate, strong.
RALPH PIKES (11-14) - From the West. Sensitive, a poet, strong sense of humor, positive, strong will to succeed.
ARLENE PIKES (35-40) Ralph's mother. Gentle, easily swayed, not very bright, good-natured, extremely proud of Ralph.

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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Features Children
  • Roles for Children
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)

Resources

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Authors

Marsha Sheiness

Marsha Lee Sheiness is a playwright, director, actor and teacher whose work has been produced Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, on television, and in regional, community, university, and high school theatres across the US. She has also been produced in Japan, Canada and England. The 2011 Midtown International Theatre Fes ...

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The Spelling Bee was first presented at the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Connecticut. The play subsequently premiered off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in New York City. It was directed by Harold Scott.

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