'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' Movie Musical In The Works At Disney

Can you use The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in a sentence? Disney can — the studio is developing a live-action feature film adaptation of the hit Tony-winning Broadway musical with the producers of the live-action Aladdin remake set to produce.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is closing a deal to acquire the rights to the acclaimed Broadway show The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee to develop it into a live-action movie adaptation.

Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich, who produced Disney's live-action Aladdin remake to billion-dollar box office success, are producing Spelling Bee via their Rideback banner. Rideback's Ryan Halprin, who appeared in a college production of the show and helped chase the rights, will executive produce.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical comedy with music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Rachel Sheinkin that follows several spelling bee competitors hailing from diverse backgrounds. The show is renowned for his audience interaction, inviting members of the crowd to compete in the spelling bee alongside the six young characters. And true to its improv roots — it was conceived as an improv play by Rebecca Feldman — the official pronouncer, usually an improv comedian, often provides ridiculous usage-in-a-sentence examples when asked to use words in a sentence.

Feldman, Jay Reiss, Sarah Saltzberg and Dan Fogler are the credited creators of that show, workshopping it from its improv play origins and moving it to Broadway in 2005, where it earned six Tony nominations and won two, for best book and Fogler for best actor.

Spelling Bee is one of the 100 longest-running Broadway shows, and has been staged in local productions around the country. Though the thing that makes it so flexible to be staged anywhere, and by amateurs and professionals alike, is likely going to prove an issue in translating it to the big screen. The audience interaction and the improv elements are going to be hard to bring over into a scripted feature film adaptation. The most probable outcome is that Disney is going to turn The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee into a sweet coming-of-age comedy, without the edgier elements that have made Spelling Bee a Broadway mainstay.

Hollywood has long been attempting to bring The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee to the screen, but this marks the first time it's been officially set up at a studio, per THR. Disney is currently searching for filmmakers to adapt the material.