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SPAMALOT

June 21 - July 23, 2017

SPAMalot

Inspired by the film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
Written by Eric Idle
Music & Lyrics by John Du Prez, Eric Idle
Directed by Renee Hewitt

"Lovingly ripped off" from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Camelot is pleased to present SPAMalot as its summer musical. This Tony Award-winner for Best Musical is a comedy featuring the Knights Who Say Ni, killer rabbits, accused witches and other Python touches. King Arthur is traveling around England recruiting his Knights of the Round Table. When he and his band of misfit knights finally gather in Camelot, they receive a charge from God to find the Holy Grail. The quest brings the King and his Knights to strange places and into the company of strange characters, challenging them to keep their heads on straight or die terribly weird deaths. SPAMalot also adds swipes at Vegas glitz and Broadway conventions to the film's anarchic spirit.

Tickets: $18 - $36

 


By Laurie Heuston of the Mail Tribune

When Eric Idle of British comedy troupe Monty Python decided to team up with composer John Du Prez and write a musical comedy based on the 1975 movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," his cohort had mixed reactions.

The story goes that some of the members - Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin - felt the stage musical was not "Python" as they would write it, and John Cleese had to be persuaded to provide the recorded voice of God in the original show.

As the show turned into a huge financial and critical success, they were delighted and and thought the show was "terrific good fun." In 2005, "Spamalot" became a fresh Broadway hit and was nominated for 14 Tony Awards, winning three, including Best New Musical.

While this irreverent parody of the Arthurian legend makes several references to "The Holy Grail" and other material from the Monty Python canon, "Spamalot" is a show that has taken on a life of its own.

With its blend of silly humor and a new score penned by Idle and Du Prez, it tells the not-so-legendary tale of King Arthur and his knights in their earnest quest for the Holy Grail. Look for King Arthur and his trustworthy servant Patsy, along with a homicidal Sir Lancelot, a strangely flatulent Sir Bedever, along with a chorus line of dancing divas and knights, man-eating rabbits, rude Frenchmen, catapulting cows and the odd knights who say "Ni!"

"Spamalot" previews Thursday, June 22, opens Friday, June 23, and runs through July 23 at Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $18 for the June 22 preview, $29 or $36 for all other performances, and can be purchased at camelottheatre.org or by calling 541-535-5250. The box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and one hour before performances.

A benefit performance for Southern Oregon Friends of Hospice will be presented at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 28. Tickets can be purchased by emailing info@sofriendsofhospice.org or by calling 541-488-7805.

Don Matthew plays Arthur, Isaac Begstrom plays Patsy and Cody Petit, Zaq Wenworth and Dylan Spooner play Lancelot, Robin and Bedevere, respectively. Noah Fitters plays the knight who says "Ni!" Kristen Calvin plays the Lady of the Lake, Rigo Jimenez plays Galahad and Geoff Riley plays Frenchie. Most of the actors also play ensemble parts.

At the top of the show, Arthur stops at a castle to inquire within, but the guards ask how Arthur found the coconut halves Patsy uses to simulate the clip-clopping sound of horse hooves. As the discussion turns into an argument between the guards as to whether African or European swallows could carry a coconut shell, Arthur and Patsy ride off.

Reneé Hewitt directs and choreographs this blend of insane, clever and silly humor.

"It was inevitable that 'Spamalot' would be produced at Camelot Theatre," Hewitt says in her program notes. "I didn't have to think about it for too long before saying yes when I was asked to direct this show. I saw a production of 'Spamalot' on a national tour several years ago, and what I remember are the hilarious lyrics, almost every musical number spoofing Broadway, and laughing my sides sore."

"I had no idea what I was in for as a director," she says. "When Idle and Du Prez wrote 'Spamalot,' they lampooned big Broadway shows, such as "Phantom of the Opera" and "West Side Story." They created massive, over-the-top numbers that are on par with 'Hello, Dolly!' and '42nd Street.' That means big production numbers, lots of choreography and presentation, lots of props, from a giant rabbit to torches, maracas, flails, a 'very expensive forest' and, of course, a castle. Idle and Du Prez threw everything into the pot and stirred it up, which is why this show is my greatest challenge to date."

" 'Knights of the Round Table' is a huge production number," Hewitt says. " 'In am Not Dead Yet,' is a hilarious number featuring Joey Larimer as Not Dead Fred, and look for 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.' "

"Consequently, I've leaned heavily on the people that surround me: the designers, stage managers, assistant choreographer, music director and the cast. Some of the gems in this show came from them. They've worked hard, and it is that and dedication that has made the journey worthwhile."

Michael Wing is musical director, Janny Hernandez is set designer, costumes are by Kayla Bush, lighting by Bart Grady, sound and video by Brian O’Connor, and stage manager is Tashina Stillmaker. "Spamalot" pokes fun at almost everyone and everything. It is most appropriate for ages 12 and older. Pythonesque humor can appear cheeky, impertinent, irreverent, disrespectful and sometimes just plain rude. All the while. it is silliness raised to an art form and all in good fun.

CAST BIOS

Kate Ashworth ~ Ensemble
Kate Ashworth received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Oregon. She has held positions in technical production and arts administration with prestigious arts organizations all over the world. She currently works in Company Management for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Isaac Bergstrom ~ Patsy
Isaac is a young actor and musician whose first performance at Camelot was Les Misèrables. He has also performed with Phoenix High School in shows such as The Addamz Family Musical and Robin Hood.

Maxwell Bruhn ~ Ensemble
Maxwell has been taking acting courses at Rogue Community College for a year, and has performed monologues, one-act plays and roles in The Tempest and Midsummer Night's Dream for the Rogue Valley. This is Maxwell's first performance at Camelot.

Kristen Calvin ~ Lady Of The Lake
Kristen was recently seen on the Camelot stage in Sweet Charity and in Spotlight on Liza Minnelli. As a classically trained vocalist and musical theatre graduate from Ball State University, she spent a few years singing professionally at various Chicago area events before relocating to Ashland with her husband. She recently returned from 2 months in Portland, playing Janis Joplin in Beehive, a 1960’s revue. Her favorite past roles include Magenta in Rocky Horror Picture Show (OCT), Marian in The Music Man, and Ado Annie in Oklahoma!

Courtney Crawford ~ Ensemble
Spamalot will be Courtney Crawford's fourth appearance with Camelot Theatre. Courtney has been acting in the area for almost 10 years, most recently in Ghost the Musical (Molly Jensen). She has been in several shows locally such as A Chorus Line (Maggie), Chicago (Annie/Ensemble), Les Miserables, Little Shop of Horrors, and Oklahoma! When she isn't on stage, you'll often find Courtney behind the scenes as a Light and Sound Board Operator.

Carrie Ann Eve ~ Ensemble
This is Carrie Ann's sixth show with Camelot theatre.  She studied dance for 19 years and has a degree from SOU in Theatre Arts.  Recent credits include Susan/Ensemble in Ghost and Lenore/Ensemble in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Camelot, and Lucy in On the Town at Randall Theatre Company.

Noah Fitterer ~ Ni Knight/Concorde/Ensemble
Noah Fitterer is a junior at SOU. He is a theatre major and loves to entertain. Past musicals Noah has done include Guys and Dolls, Grease, and Honk. Shows Noah has preformed in the past include Macbeth, Antigone, and Romeo & Juliet.

Brianna Gowland ~ Ensemble/US Patsy
Most recently you may have seen Brianna as Mary in Spotlight on Peter, Paul, and Mary. Some of her other most recent roles include Marian Paroo in The Music Man (One-Eleven Theatre), Judy Haynes in White Christmas (Randall Theatre) and Rachel Brown in Inherit the Wind (Camelot Theatre). Brianna has also choreographed shows such as Scrooge the Musical and directed shows such as I Ought to Be in Pictures.

Rigo Jimenez ~ Galahad/Mayor/Prince Hebert's Father
Rigo has been performing in Southern Oregon for 10 years, both in school and in the community. Some credits include Urinetown (Cladwell), Lion in Winter (Phillip), Oklahoma! (Will Parker) and La Cage Aux Folles (Jacob). His most recent credit was performing in Spotlight on the Day the Music Died where he sang along with Bart Grady and Robbie Dacosta. During his time not performing he's been a part of projects with Shamrock Productions, his most recent project is a web series called Off the Boards.

Joey Larimer ~ Not Dead Fred/Minstrel/Prince Herbert/Ensemble/US Robin
Born and raised in California, Joey is thrilled to be performing again with his wonderful friends and theatre family here at Camelot. Favorite roles include Carl Bruner in Ghost the Musical, Mercedes in La Cage Aux Folles, Bobby Strong in Urinetown, and Jonny Warner in Zombie Prom. Joey also works with the marching band and theatre programs at Phoenix high school as a choreographer/lighting designer

Don Matthews ~ King Arthur
Don Matthews is the morning host at Jefferson Public Radio, and has appeared as Petrucchio/Fred in Kiss Me, Kate with Rogue Music Theatre, El Gallo in The Fantasticks with Oregon Stage Works, George in Same Time, Next Year at the Randall Theatre and in numerous productions at the Camelot Theatre; most recently, as Emile de Becque in South Pacific.

Cody Pettit ~ Lance/French Taunter/Black Knight/US Tim
This is Cody's first show with the Camelot Theatre. He moved to Ashland from California in January. Previous roles include Frankie in Forever Plaid, Jamie in The Last Five Years, Princeton in Avenue Q, Bobby Strong in Urinetown, and the title role in Disney's Tarzan.

Geoffrey Riley ~ Guard #2/Frenchie/Historian/Ensemble/US Arthur
Geoffrey Riley is in his first fully-staged play (as opposed to readings) in ten years, and he's having a blast. Geoff's roles range from Torvald in A Doll House in the old Actor's Theatre to a video bit part in Daughters of the Revolution for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Erny Rosales ~ Guard #1/Ensemble/Sir Not Appearing/Dance Captain
Spamalot marks Rosales' 13th production here at Camelot. Originally from Northern California and a graduate of Chico State University, he arrived to the Rogue Valley and began working at various theaters. Notable Camelot roles include: Charlie in The Foreigner, Billis in South Pacific, Andre in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Ali Hakim in Oklahoma!. Other roles include Mark Cohen in RENT, Harold Hill in The Music Man(TFTM) and Miss Lucy in Sherlock Holmes...Clockwork Prince (Randall Theatre).

Ella Rose Schaefer ~ Ensemble
Spamalot is Ella's sixth production with the Camelot Theatre, and she is so excited to be in such a fun show. Her most recent roles include Susan/Ensemble in the Randall Theatre's production of White Christmas and ensemble in Camelot's showing of Ghost the Musical.

Dylan Spooner ~ Ensemble/Sir Belvedere
You may have recently seen Dylan in Ghost here at Camelot, or last fall in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Dylan is a recent graduate of Southern Oregon University where he earned a BA in Theatre Arts and a minor in Shakespeare Studies. Dylan hiopes for a long career working in the theatre industry.

Daniel Stephens ~ Understudy
Over the past dozen seasons, Daniel Stephens has appeared at Camelot as an actor, choreographer, and director, with South Pacific being his most recent effort as director here. He has worked for many theaters including nine seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and six years with the Dallas Theatre Center. He continues to teach Renaissance Dance workshops for Shakespeare Studies educational program at SOU and Baroque Dance workshops and lectures for the Music Teachers Association of Oregon.

Sophie Stricker ~ Ensemble
Sophie Marilla was most recently on the Camelot stage in Ghost, as Libby Tucker in I Ought To Be In Pictures, and as Vivienne Kensington in Legally Blonde. Sophie Marilla enjoys working backstage as well, and will be choreographing the Conservatory Production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Zaq Wentworth ~ Sir Robin/Brother Maynard/Ensemble
Zaq Wentworth has been acting around the valley for 6 years now. You may have recently seen Zaq as Ellard Simms in The Foreigner, Jean Michel in La Cage Aux Folles here at Camelot, or Beethoven in Dog Sees God at Collaborative Theatre Project. Favorite roles include Angel in Rent, Marcellus Washburn in The Music Man, Combeferre in Les Miserables, Rolf in Sound of Music, and Ensemble of Oklahoma! and Chicago. He also had the honor or performing at OSF's Deadalus Project in 2015.

Josiah Wise ~ Tim /Ensemble/USNot Dead Fred/USMinstrel/USPrince Herbert
Josiah Wise has been in theatre for nearly ten years. He has performed at Camelot once before in Les Miserables, and returns now for Spamalot three years later. During those three years he has since played roles in several other theatres in Southern Oregon: He portrayed the Baker in Into the Woods at a theatre in Brookings. There he also directed ,i>A Midsummer Night's Dream, and performed in it as Oberon. His most notable shows also include Company, Young Frankenstein, and Enchanted April.

Mariah Wise ~ Understudy
Mariah has been acting on stage now for nine years. Mariah's most recent work in the Rogue Valley has been White Christmas at the Randall, You are Weak/You are Strong, and Company with Thanks for the Memories. This will be her first show at Camelot. She has a passion for theater as an art and intends to make it her career. Wise will be attending SOU in the fall as a theater major. There she hopes to attain her BFA in performance.

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THEATRE REVIEWS

Camelot cast, crew shine in 'Spamalot'
By Jeffrey Gillespie For the Daily Tidings
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For those who have been living under a rock since the mid-1970s, Monty Python was an English comedy group made up of Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, John Cleese, and Michael Palin. They were a luminary and highly influential group, whose special brand of surrealist comedy has added a seemingly endless number of bizarre non-sequiturs to the lexicon, many of which might be shrieked at college parties or flung about as peculiar answers to ordinary questions, especially if you’re located somewhere in the Commonwealth. "Spamalot" is a musical based on perhaps the Python's most famous film, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." It is absurd. It is non-linear. It is often deeply confusing to Americans. It is absolutely bloody brilliant.

From the direction of Renee Hewitt, Camelot Theatre has made "Spamalot" one of the best things it has done since "La Cage Aux Folles," which they mounted at this time last year. Almost everyone with any connection to the Camelot talent pool is on stage and giving it their rollicking best, including Don Matthews as a befuddled and hilarious King Arthur.

Zaq Wentworth portrays Sir Robin — a decidedly unbrave knight who craps himself with alarming frequency at the sign of any trouble. Isaac Bergstrom plays Patsy, Arthur's trod-upon sidekick, and Cody Pettit is a flamboyantly gay Sir Lancelot. Rigo Jimenez, Erny Rosales, Courtney Crawford, Joey Larimer, Kate Ashworth and others from the current stable of the Company's robust young talent pool are all on stage in various ensemble roles.

It is a dizzying spectacle, and having last week reviewed the big flamboyant summer offering of the most important theatre in the region, I was struck by how much more the Camelot is doing with a far smaller budget. There are fish fights, endless costume changes, Trojan rabbits (just see it), French soldiers of foul temperament, maraca bands, showgirls with multiple costume changes, an ultra-touchy Almighty God, a cheer-leading squad fit for a king, monks who hit themselves in the head with holy books during incantations, an ultra-politicized peasant with a penchant for socialist Utopian collectives, an overly ambitious Black Knight, an inflatable, projectile cow, word play galore, and, of course, the knights who say "ni!", which, if you’re unfamiliar, you might want to read up on before you attend.

Inside all of these shenanigans are the usual serious political messages that made the Monty Python group so critically acclaimed in class-obsessed Britain. Questions of social stature, leftist politics, monarchic entitlement and closeted gayness abound, despite being sheathed in glittering costumes and hilarious scenarios. Speaking of the costumes, I'm not sure what designer Kayla Bush has been smoking, but I want some of it; this show is easily the most complex in terms of sartorial impact than any I have seen at the theatre since I started reviewing there. You could watch the production from start to finish with the sound off and still come away with your money well spent.

As the Lady of the Lake, Kristen Calvin has stolen this show as a gyrating, Janis Joplin style ruler of Avalon. Calvin is saucy and shimmering, backed up by a group of chorus girls; she summarily seduces Arthur and marks her man with a combination of sex appeal and political mechanizing that would make Mata Hari feel right at home. Calvin carries much of the water in this show, which seems only appropriate considering the fact that her character lives most of her life submerged in it.

Rosales has a funny few moments as a dimwitted guard who is charged with securing a problematic princeling, and Jiminez is amusing as an irate, traditional father who doesn't want to see his son on the stage; a brief metamorphosis into a Trump-style authority figure is a sly poke at the current political scene.

Overall, this is the most on-point show that Camelot has done in a long time. It's two and a half hours of hilarious derangement - a respite from the current state of the world. Get into Camelot and see this show, before you kick the bucket, run down the curtain, join the choir invisible, and become an ex-parrot.

SPAMalot plays at Camelot Theatre through July 23.

Camelot's 'Spamalot' scores big laughs

By Maureen Flanagan Battistella for the Mail Tribune
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"Monty Python's Spamalot," directed by Renee Hewitt, is over the top, splendidly overacted and entirely hilarious.

Whether you're a fan of Monty Python or have never heard of the British comedic troupe, "Monty Python's Spamalot" will have you rolling on the floor.

"Spamalot," which opened Friday at Camelot Theatre in Talent, is a rowdy remake of the Legend of King Arthur and Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail. Arthur travels his realm seeking knights who will join the court at Camelot. Thanks to a talented cast, the production has all of Monty Python's signature stream-of-consciousness, irreverent, ridiculous and very physical humor - in song.

The Historian, played by Geoffrey Riley, opens the show with measured pronouncements about England in 932 A.D. and throughout is a god-like voice from on high. The Historian wears a lot of clothes, so it's a wonder how Riley is able to move so smoothly between this role and the manic antics of the stripped-down ensemble.

Don Matthews as Arthur is very, very tall and talented, too. His deep bass voice booms out declarations and proclamations, and his kingly demeanor is impervious to ridicule despite the tomfooleries that abound. Arthur stands tall in the saddle, as well, leading loyal Patsy (Isaac Bergstrom) and the knights, all clopping along with coconut shells.

Despite the well covered-up dancing nun and cowled monks who hit themselves in the head at every step, there's lots of skin and many panties revealed in "Monty Python's Spamalot." The female cast shimmies and shakes in "Laker Girls," showing off their bottoms to spell G-A-L-A-H-A-D; later they dress for Vegas and twirl maces instead of pasties. Rigo Jimenez plays Galahad, clearly romancing the ladies, and later he is Prince Herbert's pop-eyed father, screaming "STOP SINGING" against a lime-green screen.

The Lady of the Lake, played by Kristen Calvin, has more shimmery, sequined gowns than anyone could imagine, thanks to top-notch costume designer Kayla Bush. Calvin's voice and performance are remarkable for range, power, gesture and expression; she is just magnificent in this play within a play of musical nonsense.

Those who know and love "Monty Python's Spamalot" will find all the expected jokes and comic scenes that are even more rousing, thanks to superb performances by the ensemble and cast. There's a most excellent Not Dead Fred (played by an incredibly flexible Joey Larimer), screeching cats, Lancelot (Cody Pettit) outed, Knights of Ni who scream "NI" at the word "IT", a big finger and audience involvement, the bibbity boppity boo bit and lots more.

Rather than a music bed to carry the performance, a bed of laughter scores "Monty Python's Spamalot" - and it's not a simple giggle or occasional guffaw, but deep down, sustained laughter from the heart.

"Monty Python's Spamalot" runs about two hours, with one 15-minute intermission. The show plays through July 23 at Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. See camelottheatre.org or call 541-535-5250 for information.