Celebrating 90 Years of Spelling Mastery with The Scripps

Rehearsals have begun for the second production of Season 30 at the Commonweal, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and you are in for a treat when this rousing musical opens on May 12. Local, regional and national spelling bees are quite popular events and have been around for years. In fact, The Scripps (formerly Scripps Howard) National Spelling Bee originated in 1925. It has been held continuously since then, except for war years, making The Bee 90 years old this year. We can find no better way to honor The Scripps National Bee than by staging a five-month run of a spelling bee of our own.

I’m sure you’ve heard of our national spelling bee, but did you know?

  • In 1946, The Bee is first broadcast on television on NBC.
  • After several hours of head-to-head spelling, Colquitt Dean and Deanna Reynard are named first-ever “co-champions” in 1950.
  • In 1975, Hugh Tosteson of Puerto Rico becomes first spelling bee champion from outside the 50 states.
  • The Bee begins a broadcast partnership with ESPN in 1994.
  • In 1999, the documentary Spellbound films the national bee.
  • In 2002, a written test is implemented for the first time.
  • And last year, Edith Fuller became the youngest person ever to qualify for the finals. She was five years old.

There is so much to learn about The Scripps National Spelling Bee and you can do just that by visiting http://spellingbee.com/. While there, you can read more history, find out about each of the national finalists and take a test of your own spelling vocabulary skills. I took the test and my score was just under the wire for qualification…26 out of 27!

There is also so much more to learn about The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and for that, all you need to do is watch this space all this month. Five preview performances begin may 4th and the gala opening night is May 12th.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the theatre!—Jeremy

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