Two contestants at the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.At left, photo by Joan Marcus; at right, courtesy of Scores
Songs about erections are nothing new at the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, but every six months or so, a blue version of the Broadway musical trades sexual innuendo for outright ribaldry, refusing entry to anyone under 16. Last night, breasts were groped, bottoms spanked, and two strippers from Scores served as guest contestants. As you’d expect, spelling questions tended toward the crude — is “autoteabagging” really a word? — yet somehow despite all the cussing, the NAMBLA references, and the punch lines about date rape, racism, Scientology, and anal sex, the Bee still felt lighthearted. This cast even made a Richard Gere–gerbil joke work. If the show’s naughty version reinforced any negative stereotypes, it was simply this: Strippers can’t spell worth sheyit. —Drew Pisarra
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