National Tours of Broadway Comedies Jan. 12th and 21st at Mattie Kelly Arts Center


NICEVILLE - Hold on to your funny bone -- the national tours of two popular Broadway musical comedies will appear at the Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College's Niceville campus in January 2009!

First up is the Tony Award-winning musical comedy, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" on January 12, followed by most celebrated musical of the 2006 Broadway season, the five-time Tony Award winning musical, "The Drowsy Chaperone" on January 21. Tickets for either show are $45 each with a $5 per ticket discount for groups of 10 or more tickets purchased at one time.

Box office phone and in-person sales are open now thru December 19 and reopen January 5. Online ticket sales are available at anytime and will be open throughout the holiday season through the center's website at Contact the box office at (850) 729-6000 or toll free 1-888-838-ARTS (2787). The box office will also open at 6:00 pm the night of each show for any available at-the-door ticket sales. Show time is 7:30 pm for each show.

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is a hilarious tale of overachievers' angst that chronicles the experiences of six adolescents in the throes of puberty as they vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime -- learning that winning isn't everything and that losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser. This tuneful, offbeat and at times heartwarming show offers audience members the opportunity (strictly voluntary) to become part of the action as on-stage spellers.

According to Dr. Cliff Herron, executive director of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, the show should be considered a mild PG-13 for some mature language/themes presented in the show's humorous songs. According to reviews which have appeared in the New York Times, Spelling Bee is "riotously funny and remarkably ingenious. Gold stars all around." In the Wall Street Journal, Spelling Bee was called, "perfect in every possible way - that rarity of rarities, a super-smart musical that is also a bona fide crowd-pleaser. An ingenious blend of simplicity and sophistication, it's not merely funny, it's wise." Herron concurred that the center booked the show because it's, "One of the hottest, funniest productions now on tour."

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is directed by James Lapine, the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winner (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods) who also directed the Broadway production.

Five-Time Tony Award-Winning Musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, January 21

The most celebrated musical of the 2006 Broadway season, "The Drowsy Chaperone", is a completely original musical comedy that appears at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center on January 21. The show received more Tony Awards than any other musical of the 2006 season, including Best Book; Original Score; Costume Design and Scenic Design. The show features the original direction and choreography by Tony Award nominee Casey Nicholaw (Spamalot) with music and lyrics by Tony Award winners Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and a book by Tony Award winners Bob Martin and Don McKellar.

Called "A tribute to the Jazz Age" by the Tampa Tribune, the musical-within-a-musical is "perfectly staged and wholly entertaining" according to the Chicago Sun Times. Audiences will be transported to a magical, wonderful world full of laughs as a modern day musical theater addict tries to chase his blues away by listening to his favorite LP - the 1928 musical comedy, The Drowsy Chaperone. From the crackle of his hi-fi, the musical magically bursts to life on-stage telling the hilarious tale of a pampered Broadway starlet who wants to give up show business to get married, her producer who sets out to sabotage the nuptials, her chaperone, the debonair groom, and a dizzy chorus girl, a Latin lover and a pair of gangsters who double as pastry chefs thrown in to complete the plot about an uproarious wedding day.

The Mattie Kelly Arts Center is located at 100 College Boulevard on the Niceville, Florida campus of Northwest Florida State College (formerly Okaloosa-Walton College) and is easily accessible via Interstate 10, U.S. Highway 285, U. S. Highway 85 and the Mid-Bay Bridge.

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