The shaking legs. The sweaty palms. The seemingly interminable walk to the microphone, when you know that everyone is staring at you, breaths held, just waiting for you to mess up so that the grand prize can go to their favorite contestant. American Idol? That's child's play. Miss America? Peh. We're talking about a true competition, one that separates the c-h-a-m-p-s from the p-o-s-e-u-r-s. We're talking the spelling bee and, more specifically, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. New Line Theatre's production of this acclaimed musical opens tonight at the Washington University South Campus Theatre (6501 Clayton Road, Clayton). Relive your childhood victories (or defeats) as the talented cast members go toe-to-toe in an always funny, often poignant spelling contest that gets to the heart of American ambition. The show begins at 8 p.m., but don't get too comfortable in that seat; some audience members will be asked to demonstrate their spelling prowess. Here's a word: procure. ("Can you use that in a sentence?") You may procure your tickets from MetroTix by calling 314-534-1111 or visiting Prices range from $10 to $15, and the show runs Thursday through Saturday (July 16 through August 8). For more information, put down your Scripps National Spelling Bee word list and head to
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: July 16. Continues through Aug. 8, 2009

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