MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. — Executive Director James Beaudry and Timber Lake Playhouse (TLP) will present the first regional production of Monty Python’s Spamalot as part of TLP’s upcoming summer season.
Lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, their quest for the Holy Grail, and features a bevy of beautiful show girls, not to mention cows, killer rabbits and French people. Did we mention the bevy of beautiful show girls?
The show that “raises silliness to an artform” (The Sunday Times) will open Aug. 1 and run through Aug. 11.
The show has been a huge hit in a long run on Broadway and on three national tours, but it had its pre-Broadway premiere in Chicago, where its entire run was sold out before it began in late 2004.
Beaudry confirmed that TLP was offered the rights to produce the show a full year ago, but had to keep mum about it until now.
“Sean Cercone, director of professional licensing for Theatrical Rights Worldwide, contacted us and several other theater companies in April 2012,” Beaudry said. “We had a four-day window to make a decision and secure the rights, or the show would be unavailable because another national tour was going back out.
“So, we made it happen,” Beaudry added. “But the only catch was that we couldn’t advertise the show until March 2013. When we announced the rest of the season last July, we were as creative as possible about selling the show without saying anything specific about it.
“It was quickly brought to our attention by some eager, Google-savvy subscribers, however, that the licensing company had our production listed on their website,” Beaudry noted. “We weren’t allowed to advertise, but we were allowed to encourage people to go on their own quest to find the information we weren’t allowed to tell. It quickly became the worst-kept secret in the history of our company!”
The show that the New York Times calls a “no-holds-barred smash hit,” will star John Chase of Mount Morris, Ill., as King Arthur. He has previously been seen at TLP in Working, Sunset Boulevard and Oklahoma!. Sharriese Hamilton (Working, …Spelling Bee) takes on the Tony Award-winning role of The Lady of the Lake, Brandon Jess Ford (All Shook Up, Sunset Boulevard, Boeing Boeing) returns to play Sir Lancelot, and James Beaudry returns to the TLP stage in the role of Brave Sir Robin.
Rounding out the cast are newcomers Brandyn Day (Baldwin Wallace University) as Sir Galahad, Cody Jolly (Webster University) as The Historian, Elliot Marach (Millikin University) as Sir Bedevere and Matthew Webb (Savannah College of Art and Design) as Patsy. The new resident company of TLP fills out the ensemble.
The 52nd season at TLP opens June 6 and includes A Chorus Line, Tuesdays With Morrie, The Music Man, Unnecessary Farce, Spamalot and ’S Wonderful: The New Gershwin Musical. Subscriptions for all six shows are $110. The Magic Owl children’s theater will also present The Hobbit and Seussical. More information is available at www.timberlakeplayhouse.org.
Monty Python’s Spamalot performs Aug. 1-11. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Tuesdays-Saturdays, and there are 2 p.m. matinees on Sunday and Wednesday. There is also a Saturday matinee performance on opening weekends at 3 p.m. Season subscribers and groups may reserve tickets during regular business hours, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday, at (815) 244-2035, or any time at www.timberlakeplayhouse.org. Single tickets will go on sale May 20.
Timber Lake Playhouse is at 8215 Black Oak Road, Mount Carroll, Ill.
From the May 15-21, 2013, issue