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Spelling s-u-c-c-e-s-s

Putnum-web-page-copy When The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee became a surprise success Off-Broadway, on Broadway and on tour, the kids in the show's fictional spelling bee were played by a succession of talented adults.

When the show opens on Friday at Area Stage in Coral Gables, those funny, poignant kids really will bekids.  Joseph Barbosa, Stphanie Diggles, Jordan Edwards, Isabella Lopez, Ani Mesa, Krystal Ortiz, Amanda Reyes, Kevin Rios and Joel Vazquez -- teens who study at the Area Stage Conservatory -- will play the spellers and adults in the musical by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin.  John and Maria Rodaz share directing duties, and three musicians play the score.

Of course, there's always the chance to show off your own spelling skills, since four audience "volunteers" are recruited before every performance.  Bad spellers beware!

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday, through Jan. 30.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students 25 and under.  Area is at 1560 S. Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables.  For info, call 305-666-2078 or visit the company's web site.

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The Grand Opening Cabaret at the Little Stage Theater on Miami Beach, which opened New Year's night, also enjoyed success -- so much so that the run has been extended through this weekend.  Additional shows happen at 9 p.m. this Friday and Saturday at 2100 Washington Ave.  Admission to the SoBe Arts tribute to '30s-'40s cabarets is $25.  For info, call 305-674-9220 or visit the group's web site.

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