- Released: May 31, 2005
- Label: Ghostlight
- 1.The 25th Annual Putam County Spelling Bee
- 2.The Spelling Rules / My Favorite Moment Of The Bee 1
- 3.My Friend, The Dictionary
- 4.The First Goodbye
- 6.I'm Not That Smart
- 7.The Second Goodbye
- 8.Magic Foot
- 9.Pandemonium Reprise / My Favorite Moment Of The Bee 2
- 10.Why We Like Spelling
- 11.Prayer Of The Comfort Counselor
- 12.My Unfortunate Erection (Chip's Lament)
- 13.Woe Is Me
- 14.I'm Not That Smart - (Reprise)
- 15.I Speak Six Languages
- 16.The I Love You Song
- 17.Woe Is Me - (Reprise)
- 18.My Favorite Moment Of The Bee 3/Second
- 20.The Last Goodbye
Original Soundtrack: Celia Keenan-Bolger, Jose Llana, Derrick Baskin, Craig, Deborah S., Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dan Fogler, Lisa Howard, Jay Reiss, Sarah Saltzberg.
Personnel: Scott Kuney (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Ming Yeh (violin); Liuh-Wen Ting (viola); Dennis Anderson (flute, clarinet, oboe, alto saxophone); Richard Heckman (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone); Russ Rizner-French (French horn); Carmel Dean (synthesizer).
Audio Mixer: Joel Moss .
Liner Note Author: Bill Rosenfield.
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY (04/05/2005); Sound on Sound Studios, New York, NY (04/05/2005).
Photographer: Joan Marcus.
Who would of thunk it? That some ingenious soul(s) would use the spelling bee -- that great American institution that millions of children have suffered through -- as a gristmill for a Broadway musical? The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee does exactly that, and Ghost Light has provided an original Broadway cast recording of the musical. The compositions and lyrics are from William Finn, and with a Tony under his belt, he's got the experience to make even a spelling bee dramatic. As one might imagine, the cast includes a number of overachievers gathered at a junior high gym for the contest. There are love songs to the dictionary ("My Friend, the Dictionary" rhymes Nietzsche with Christiana Richie), expressions of inferiority ("I'm Not That Smart"), and lots and lots of spelling. The music is catchy and the cast are fine singers, though numbers like "Pandemonium" are a bit overwhelming as what seems like a dozen spellers trade lines and build to a crescendo as the band plays louder and louder. A musical without the visuals can seem a bit fragmented, and that's true of The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee. Some may find all of this a bit precious and not unlike sitting through another spelling bee. Others (i.e., overachievers) will no doubt enjoy a glance back at their glory days. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.