SAN LUIS OBISPO – Cuesta College’s nationally renowned Theatre Arts Department presents the Tony Award-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Harold J. Miossi Cultural and Performing Arts Center (CPAC) Mainstage. It opens May 12 and runs through May 22. 

The heartfelt musical comedy celebrates the triumphs and tragedies of adolescence as a group of six ragtag pre-teens (all played by adults) compete in a spelling bee. Pandemonium ensues as they vie for the top spot and spell their way to nationals. The high-stakes competition puts each contestant at the mic and in the spotlight as we learn about their hilarious and touching stories. 

“The musical features six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves. They learn that winning isn’t everything and losing doesn’t necessarily make one a loser,” said bree valle*, Cuesta College Drama Faculty. “In March 2020, the production was shut down, and after a two-year hiatus, we are glad to celebrate the return of live theatre with this hilarious tale.”

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee hits the Harold J. Miossi CPAC Mainstage on the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, May 12 | 8:00 p.m.            
  • Saturday, May 14 | 2:00 p.m
  • Saturday, May 14 | 8:00 p.m
  • Sunday, May 15 | 8:00 p.m
  • Wednesday, May 18 | 8:00 p.m
  • Thursday, May 19 | 8:00 p.m.            
  • Friday, May 20 | 8:00 p.m
  • Saturday, May 21 | 2:00 p.m
  • Saturday, May 21 | 8:00 p.m
  • Sunday, May 22 | 2:00 p.m

The show has a run time of 90 minutes with no intermission and contains some PG-13 humor. General admission tickets are $20 plus processing fees and $15 for students. Tickets may be purchased online at or the box office one hour before the performance.

The Cuesta College Theatre Arts Department is nationally and internationally recognized, beginning in 2014 when the original play pool ’63 received five national awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The Kennedy Center also honored the college’s productions of Refried Elvis (2016) with six awards and Ghost Ship (2019) with ten awards, including Outstanding Theatrical Creation. In Feb. 2021, bree valle received the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion, considered one of the top honors in theatre education.

To learn more about the Cuesta College Theatre Arts program, please visit the website or call (805) 546-3195.

*bree valle does not capitalize her first and last name