B’way’s ‘Bee’ buzzes

Audiences fall under 'Spell'

NEW YORK — Will “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” be the next “Avenue Q”?

In search of the answer to that question, the legit machers took in Thursday night’s Gotham preem at Second Stage.

In addition to reps from all the big Broadway theaters, first-nighters included John Breglio, Scott Ellis, Roy Gabay, Susan Quint Gallin, Robyn Goodman, Kathleen Marshall, Mark O’Donnell, John Patrick Shanley and Wendy Wasserstein. Missing was David Stone, who holds the commercial option to “Spelling Bee”; he was in California on biz related to the “Wicked” tour.

Many first-nighters were relieved they didn’t get asked to participate onstage in the spelling bee. Composer-lyricist William Finn recalled his fave moment so far in the show’s run: A blonde with too much makeup misspelled “jihad.”

“She spelled it ‘G-E-E H-A-R-D,’ ” said Finn.

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