If you like your musical comedies to be fun, with great songs and maybe a little bit of vulgar language, you should get your tickets now to “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” the laugh riot being presented tomorrow — Thursday, February 9 — through Saturday, February 10, by Mad Theatre of Tampa at the Shimberg Playhouse at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Tampa.

The show — the first of MAD Theatre’s 25th anniversary season — which promises some audience participation in the craziest Spelling Bee (with six mid-pubescent spellers, all played by young adults) ever, features a super-talented ensemble cast that includes two lead characters from recent New Tampa Players (NTP) productions — Chris Cordero (who played Shrek in “Shrek The Musical”) and Dylan Fidler (who played Danny Zuko in “Grease”), as well as choreography by Evan Lomba (who played Donkey in NTP’s “Shrek”). The MAD Theatre show’s director is Casey Vaughn, with music direction by Megan Zeitler and artistic direction by Tony Gilkinson.

And, after checking out one of the show’s rehearsals — which included at least two spelling words I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t spell — I can assure you that “Spelling Bee” is not only fun and funny (the dialogue won both the Tony and Drama Desk awards in 2005 for Best Book of a Musical by Rachel Sheinkin), but also chock full of great, catchy songs, with the fresh and vibrant score by William Finn. 

But, tickets (starting at just $20) are going fast, so to get yours, visit StrazCenter.org or MadTheatre.com.

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