-> ''At the 25th Annual''
-> ''We've memorized the manual''
-> ''About how to spell these words''
-> ''Words that require thought''
-> ''People think we're automatons''
-> ''But that is exactly what we're not''

''The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'' is a musical about six misfit kids in a spelling bee and the three crazy adults in charge. The music was written by William Finn and the book was written by Rachel Sheinkin.
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!!!This musical contains examples of

* [[spoiler:AbusiveParents]]: Implied in "The I Love You Song."
** Although depending on your interpretation, each speller has these to an extent.
* AccidentalMisnaming: Repeatedly for William "Barfy".
* AllMusicalsAreAdaptations: The musical is based on another play, ''C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E''.
* AsianAndNerdy: Marcy, usually, though casting varies by production. [[spoiler: Eventually subverted when, after a vision from Jesus, Marcy throws the bee so she can stop living up to expectations.]]
* AudienceParticipation: Four audience members are picked to be spellers, and the audience of the play is treated as though it's the audience of the bee.
* ButtMonkey: Pretty much all of the spellers. Including those from the audience. ''Especially'' those from the audience.
* CharacterBlog: Both [[http://www.myspace.com/leafconeybear Leaf]] and [[http://www.myspace.com/logainnes Logainne]] had blogs where they posted videos.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Leaf Coneybear [[WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue has cats... lots of cats]].
* CounterpointDuet: "Second"
* CutSong: "Why We Like Spelling" shows up on the main soundtrack but generally isn't present in performances.
* DisneyAcidSequence: Olive's big song, with a LampshadeHanging that the word she's spelling is defined as "removed from reality".
* DarkReprise / TriumphantReprise: Apart from the first few audience members, one of these comes up nearly every time someone gets eliminated. [[spoiler:Leaf's reprise]] manages to be both, starting out dark and ending triumphant.
* DawsonCasting: The adult actors play characters who are in elementary or middle school.
* DefrostingIceQueen: Marcy Park.
* DysfunctionJunction: ''Every single character'' [[TheWoobie has serious issues]].
* TheElevenOClockNumber: "The I Love You Song"
* FinalLoveDuet: While officially it's not, "Second" has some element of this. Just ask the shippers.
* ForegoneConclusion: The play is about competition, but in order to resolve each character arc successfully, the play has to make the same contestant win, and the same contestants lose in the right place, every time it's performed. Incidentally, that means that no matter how many times this production is put on, the winner of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will always be [[spoiler:Barfée]].
* GeekPhysiques: This can get passed around or eliminated on account of differing actors between productions, but Barfée is frequently overweight.
* GenderBlenderName: Logainne (pronounced like "Logan")
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Quite a few of the spelling words. For example, flagellate and vug. (Try saying them out loud)
** Chip asks if [[ContemplateOurNavels Omphaloskepsis]] can be pronounced "Om-PHAL-oskepsis."
*** [[spoiler:[[HilariousInHindsight Foreshadowing,]] [[StealthPun perhaps?]]]]
* GiveGeeksAChance: Olive and William
* GospelRevivalNumber: "Prayer of the Comfort Counselor"
* [[GranolaGirl Granola Guy]]: Leaf
* HarpoDoesSomethingFunny: A few segments can be improvised, though often there are default lines that performers can fall back on. In particular, Panch is often played by an improvisational comic and is given a fair amount of leniency with how he deals with the spellers from the audience.
* [[HasTwoMommies Has Two Daddies]]: Logainne
* [[HomeschooledKids Homeschooled Kid]]: Leaf Coneybear.
* IAmSong: "I'm Not That Smart", "I Speak Six Languages", and "Woe Is Me" for their individual singers; "Why We Like Spelling" for the spellers as a whole.
* IncrediblyLongNote: Logainne finishes "Woe Is Me" with one.
** Mitch holds one in the middle of "Prayer of the Comfort Counselor."
* InsufferableGenius: For most of the play, William is rather smug about his spelling technique and gloats over one of the defeated spellers at one point.
* {{It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY}}: William Barfée (Bar-FAY)
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Mitch Mahoney, the comfort counselor. He's an ex-con who at one point expresses a desire to "beat [the spellers] up a little, so they understand that pain has degrees." However, "Prayer of the Comfort Counselor" is probably one of the biggest [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming Crowning Moments Of Heartwarming]] in the entire show, since it's one of the only times ''any'' character treats the Bee as anything other than SeriousBusiness. Oh, and in the WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue, it turns out that [[spoiler:Mitch decided to become a comfort counselor full-time.]]
* [[JewishAndNerdy Half-Jewish and Nerdy]]: Logainne
* JesusWasWayCool: [[spoiler: Jesus appears to be this in his short appearance.]]
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRoles: Pretty much every member of the cast doubles.
** Especially the actor playing Mitch.
** Traditionally, the double-casting is:
*** Rona - Olive's mother
*** Mitch - Olive's Father, Dan/Logainne's Father
*** William - Leaf's father
*** Leaf - Carl/Logainne's [[HasTwoMommies other]] father
*** Logainne - Leaf's mother
*** Marcy - Leaf's sister, usually Brook.
*** Chip - one of Leaf's siblings, [[spoiler:Jesus]]
*** Olive - one of Leaf's siblings
* MagicFeather: Turns out, Barfée didn't need to use his magic foot after all!
* MassiveNumberedSiblings: Leaf and all of his siblings (names may vary by production). They are: Marigold, Brooke, Pinecone, Landscape, Raisin, [[OddNameOut Paul]].
* MeddlingParents: Logainne's dads; Carl in particular.
* MinorCharacterMajorSong: "Prayer of the Comfort Counselor," sung by Mitch.
* AMinorKidroduction: The show opens with Rona as a kid, winning a previous spelling bee.
* MissingMom / DisappearedDad: For Olive, both of her parents are absent in their own way. Her mother is on a self-discovery trip in India, while her dad is implied to be emotionally distant as a result. (As well as physically absent from the bee.)
* MoodWhiplash: From "The I Love You Song", Olive's mother breaks the somber, beautiful tone of the piece with the line "if you feel my gloom, blame it on me. Blame it on your daddily and mammily, because depression runs in our family", which usually garners a few laughs from the audience.
** "The I Love You Song" itself is a massive mood whiplash, as the play is almost entirely a raunchy comedy up until this point and there's utterly no warning that the upcoming song is going to be leading to more than a few tears until it finally starts.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: Apart from the general premise of having a musical about a spelling bee, some scenes particularly play this up with things like spelling in ''slow motion''.
* MusicalisInterruptus: Panch interrupts "I'm Not That Smart" to ask [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Leaf]] to spell his word.
* NoFourthWall: Along with the audience spellers, the audience treated as if they're attending the spelling bee rather than a play about a spelling bee. The intermission is even a "snack break."
* NoRomanticResolution: Aside from [[spoiler: Olive hugging William and him saying she helped him study, there is no resolution to their crush.]]
* OddNameOut: Leaf's siblings are Marigold, Brook, Pinecone, Landscape, Raisin...and Paul.
* OppositesAttract: Logainne's Carl Dad and Dan Dad. Carl is all business, making Logainne practice her spelling without end, while Dan is much more lax and values Logainne's comfort over her ability to spell.
* OverlyLongName: Logainne Schwartzandgrubinierre
* PalsWithJesus: [[spoiler:Marcy, apparently.]]
* PerfectlyCromulentWord: At least one pretty much always gets thrown at an audience member to spell.
** [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], as the plot of this play cannot work properly unless the cast members are the ones to make it to the finals, so they had to come up with some pretext to eliminate the audience members eventually.
* PositiveDiscrimination: Averted, and averted ''very deliberately''. Logainne is the most notable case: she's the child of a ''gay couple'', but they are portrayed as deeply flawed, to put it ''mildly'', like any heterosexual parents are capable of being. Marcy looks like she plays this trope straight, being an Asian portrayed as one of the best, but then [[spoiler: she throws the bee after advice from Jesus, deciding not to live up to expectations]]. Chip's aversion of the trope is a variable case depending on the production; because his last name is "Tolentino", Chip is sometimes played by a Hispanic actor. [[spoiler: And no, Chip doesn't win the bee either; he's eliminated when he's distracted by an erection he got from looking at an attractive girl, and because of his distraction he tries to back up and correct himself in the middle of a word, which is against the rules.]]
* PuttingOnMyThinkingCap: Barfée's "magic foot" that he uses to spell. It gets a whole song.
** [[spoiler: Then Logainne's father attempts to ''sabotage'' the foot by spilling something all over the floor (in between contestants which is why the organizers don't see him do it) so Barfée can't use it to spell. This throws Barfée off for a minute, but he recovers and manages to get his word right ''anyway''!]]
* RagingStiffie: A whole song about one.
-->Chip: Because my stiffy has [[spoiler:ruined my spelling!]]
* RunningGag: In regards to the spellers' words. William gets terms that either sound off-putting or are medically related. Examples include halitosis, antihistamine (which is especially pertinent to his [[spoiler:peanut allergy]]) and lugubrious. Logainne, who has a lisp, gets words with excessive “s” sounds such as cystitis and strabismus. Chip's naughty-sounding words [[spoiler: have a lot to do with his libido-- tittup, omPHALOskepsis.]] And Leaf's are all South American rodents.
* [[SchrodingersGun Schrodinger's Gun]]: The main use for {{Perfectly Cromulent Word}}s. Certain words given to audience members are declared correct/incorrect regardless of the actual spelling provided.
** Of course, since the audience members ''can't'' be allowed to win the bee since it would ruin the plot of the story, this is justified.
* SecondPlaceIsForLosers: A recurring theme, most obviously in [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Second"]].
* SeriousBusiness: Spelling, natch. This is justified in the song "Why We Like Spelling," wherein the kids explain how being good at spelling fills an emotional void.
** Also, Logainne's Carl Dad puts a lot of pressure on her, causing her to {{angst}}.
* SicklyNeuroticGeek: William
* SimpletonVoice: Leaf is generally played with one.
* SpeechImpediment: Logainne's lisp.
* SpellingBee: You didn't figure this one out?
* SpellingSong: Well, it is a spelling bee. What's more surprising is how few are present; only "Magic Foot" and "Second" use the actual act of spelling as more than a brief spoken aside/background.
* StalkerWithACrush: Doug Panch for Rona Peretti
* SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion: Chip's Lament comes in one of two versions, depending on the intended audience of a given production; the one without the rude words mostly has new rhymes to suit, except right at the end where it uses the original rhyme scheme and a LastSecondWordSwap to give attentive listeners a chance to realise precisely what Chip's lamenting.
* SweaterGirl: Marigold Coneybear
-->'''Chip''': Hey, Leaf, is that your sister in the fourth row wearing the fuzzy sweater?
* ThemeSongReveal: Just before one elimination, the music segues into the departing character's IAmSong.
* TheSomethingSong: "The I Love You Song", natch.
* ToughLove: Logainne's Carl Dad really, ''really'' wants his daughter to win the bee.
* TwoferTokenMinority: During Logainne's political speech, she often mentions that she not only [[HasTwoMommies has two gay dads]] but is also half-Jewish and mixed race.
* {{Unwinnable}}: The audience members ''cannot'' win the spelling bee; if they get too far, they'll unexpectedly get several hard words thrown at them in a row until they get one wrong. Justified, however, because the play wouldn't work properly otherwise.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Leaf is like this; however, it's not just his dad he wants approval from, but his ''entire family.''
* WhenYouComingHomeDad: Olive has a seat saved for her father, who's working late. Naturally, he just gets later and later as the bee progresses.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue
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