To Bee

According to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Jenny Schiavone, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which begins its local run tonight, "is for anyone who struggled through adolescence."

Strictly speaking, Spelling Bee isn't kid stuff. The six spotlighted youngsters are portrayed by adults such as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, whose name would stump many real-life bee competitors. They're assisted by William Finn's music, a book by Rachel Sheinkin that won a 2005 Tony, and guest spellers at every performance. Schiavone hints that local celebrities may occasionally pop up in these roles, but most will be audience members volunteering to tackle a word or two. With luck, no one will be asked to spell "Schwartzandgrubenierre."

Bee begins at 8 p.m. at the Buell Theatre, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; it runs through January 28. Tickets are $25 to $65; call 303-893-4100 or visit
Sundays, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Starts: Sept. 10. Continues through Jan. 28