Too many of us tend to ignore “local theater” in our towns, but there is a lot of great, inexpensive entertainment out there! A great example is the Athens Theater in Downtown DeLand, nestled in between Daytona and Orlando and the home of Stetson University. DeLand has talent!
“A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail” by Eric Idle – one of the original members of the Monty Python troupe.
For those of you who have never heard of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, it hit the airwaves in the United Kingdom in 1969 and produced forty-five episodes of off-beat comedy. Before computerized animation and CGI effects, Monty Python was a collection of characters and campy effects that defined and changed comedy for all time. (I have included a few links below to scenes from the original TV series.)
If you are familiar with Monty Python, well, I need not say more.
In 1975, while still producing TV shows, the group set off to do their first real film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This farcical story is the tale of King Arthur, but told from the world of Monty Python. The movie came to Broadway in 2005 as Spamalot, winning three Tony awards including Best Musical. Not bad.
So this summer, Spamalot has come to DeLand and the Athens Theater in a production expertly directed by Trevor Southworth. Led by King Arthur (Micheal Funaro) and his companion Patsy (Donald Fields), the cast finds itself trying to find its way through the legends and stories of Camelot. Familiar characters such as Sir Lancelot, Sir Robin, and the Black Knight are joined by the Lady of the Lake and her “Laker Girls…” You can see where this is going.
As a musical, the production is full of great, funny songs that help tell the story. “I’m Not Dead Yet” is performed by Michael Bautz as he is being collected as a victim of the Black Plague – but not quite dead. The Laker Girls perform a “Lakers Cheer” and the Lady of the Lake (Becca Southworth) with Sir Galahad (Kit Cleto) sing “The Song Goes Like This,” a homage to the slow start/epic ending song found in every successful musical. (For this is the song that goes like this | Yes it is! Yes it is! | Now we can go straight | Into the middle eight | A bridge that is too far for me. I’ll sing it in your face | While we both embrace | And then we change the key!) You get the idea…
We In the second act, Patsy tries to cheer up a depressed King Arthur with a song that has become the trademark of Spamalot – “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.” The show ends with the entire company singing this great song, audience standing and singing along. (Take a look at the clip from another production, found on YouTube.)
Spamalot is a classic in its own time, performed in DeLand by our local actors. Their season offerings this year include:
- The Addams Family – A new musical (Sept 30 – Oct 23)
- A Christmas Carol (musical version) (Dec 1-18)
- James and the Giant Peach (January 20-February 5)
- Driving Miss Daisy (February 17-March 12)
- Guys and Dolls (April 21-May 14)
Here are some clips from the original Monty Python TV series – some of our favorites!
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