Oct. 14--LORETTO -- Arthurian legend at its worst, and that's good.
Monty Python's "Spamalot" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and Oct. 24-26 at Cresson Lake Playhouse, 279 Shapiro Road, Loretto.
"Spamalot" is a musical comedy taken from the 1975 film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
Like the film, it is a highly irreverent parody of the Arthurian legend.
The title comes from a line in the film, "We eat ham and jam and spam a lot."
For the first time, the theater is having a preview night fundraiser, said Elaine Mastalski, executive director.
"We've waited two years to get the royalties to perform this show, and we had to wait until after April to even announce we were producing it," Mastalski said.
"So we decided to have a party and celebrate."
The preview night fundraiser will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday with a beer, sausage sandwich and a reserved seat to the performance, all for $25.
Since this is the last production of the season, there will be a shorter performance time, with only seven shows.
"We'll have hot chocolate and coffee, too, which always goes over well," Mastalski said.
After reading the long-awaited script, Mastalski was in a panic wondering how she would ever produce such a show in the unconventional barn theater.
She was rescued by the director, Bryce Britton.
"Bryce is an energetic, imaginative director," Mastalski said.
"He has an upbeat personality."
The rest of the production team includes Kelly Hartman, music director; Stacie Marie, stage manager; and Lisa Surkovich, costumer.
The play begins with a historian addressing the audience with a brief overview of the history of medieval England.
King Arthur, played by Doug Meagher of Windber, arrives with his faithful servant, Patsy, played by Josh Rinaman of Johnstown, and proceeds to travel the land to recruit Knights of the Round Table to join him in Camelot.
They encounter many strange people on their journey and finally arrive in Camelot, which resembles a modern-day Las Vegas resort casino, only to receive an order from God to find the mysterious Holy Grail.
Setting off once again, they are met with a series of challenges, including the arduous task of putting on a Broadway musical and a battle with an evil rabbit.
"Doug Meagher is having fun with his role," Mastalski said.
"He's a team player, and the role is perfect for him."
The musical has been described as lowbrow comedy of the highest order, with gags involving coconuts, a Trojan rabbit, French people and a song called "The Song That Goes Like This."
Other musical numbers include "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and "Find Your Grail."
The remainder of the cast features Kevin Bean, Kaylee Moore and Robb Miller, all of Johnstown; Douglas Spiri, Berlin; Dwayne Greslik, Boswell; Lauren Wahl, Somerset; Michael Nicholson, Portage; Holly Smith, Cresson; Peter Burley, Patton; and Corey Glover, Joey Britton and Tim Stellobote, all of Altoona.
In addition, four local residents will step in to play knights. They are Ebensburg Mayor Randy Dasko, attorney Heath Long of Ebensburg and Dawn Pellas and Scott Riley of WTAJ-TV.
"It's a small role where they tell Arthur they're there to help, and he tells them to go away," Mastalski said. "We wanted to get people involved."
The original 2005 Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols, won three Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004 2005 season, and received 14 Tony Award nominations.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and Oct. 24-26.
Where: Cresson Lake Playhouse, 279 Shapiro Road, Loretto.
Tickets: $17 for adults and $10 for students younger than age 18.
Information: 472-4333 or www.cressonlake.com.
Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/RuthRiceTD.
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