Two WIU Graduates Part of Chicago Theatrical Production

Spelling Bee 1

Two Western Illinois University alums are part of a July production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at Theatre at the Center in Chicago. The production opens today (July 11).

Ann Davis is a 1996 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology and a minor in art and a 1999 Master’s of Fine Art graduate. Patrick Tierney is a 2007 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre.

Davis is the production manager and technical director for the production, while Tierney plays the part of Leaf Coneybear.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a musical based around six students in a spelling bee, each with personal quirks.

Davis said she feels Western’s industrial technology program is an excellent academic path that has helped her career.

“David Patrick in the theatre department was a very kind man who saw potential in my design skills,” she said. “Ray Gabica was extremely inspiring as a professor and coworker. Mike Thompson had a lot to do with me finding the theatre department.”

Tierney said his Western education taught him that “the work can never stop.”

“At WIU, I learned that you always have to keep going, always striving for new ways to improve, new ways to grow,” he said. “I haven’t stopped the work since I left WIU. The positivity I received in the theatre department is something that I have kept with me in my professional career, and it has helped immensely.”

The production runs through Aug. 18. For more information about the play, visit


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