57. Monty Python’s Spamalot Live on Stage, June 5-7
This weekend LBM Productions will present a musical unlike any other to ever hit the stage in Central Louisiana. Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7, LBM will present Spamalot – as the tagline goes, a musical lovingly ripped off from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
I’m a big fan of Monty Python – from the films to the Flying Circus – so I was thrilled when I heard LBM was bringing Spamalot to Alexandria. Then, director Laine Miller recruited me to be part of the cast too. It’s a minor role – just Guard 2 – but it has been great fun being there for rehearsals and watching the cast go through the familiar scenes. I’m not much of an actor anyway, so Guard 2 is perfect for me! Of course, they’ve also drafted me to manage backstage, so I’m quickly and quite literally “learning the ropes.” And, I should mention, the Killer Rabbit puppet is mine!
Most of you are probably familiar with The Holy Grail, but you might not know its musical adaptation Spamalot. Spamalot was created by Python-veteran Eric Idle and his long-time collaborator John Du Prez. It premiered on Broadway in 2005, and has since then been seen on stages across the world. Spamalot keeps much from the original movie, but also adds brand new characters like the Lady of the Lake and borrows material from other Python sketches like the song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Life of Brian. Audience members will be surprised both by how much is familiar and how much is new.
There’s of course plenty of great music… the minstrels’ unnecessarily graphic tribute to their not-so-courageous leader “Brave Sir Robin”… the iconic “Monk’s Chant” where the robed procession alternates between meditative Gregorian chant and slapping their heads with chant books… and the show-stopping romp “Knights of the Round Table.” A new song written for Spamalot, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway,” has quickly become one of my favorites as Sir Robin sings and dances about the imagined requirements for successfully staging a Broadway musical.
Best yet, LBM Productions has recruited a team of musicians to play as a pit orchestra. It has always amazed me that theatre companies are willing to spend so much time and effort rehearsing their actors and building sets, but are willing to settle for recorded soundtracks. On the contrary, LBM Productions has chosen to use a sizeable pit orchestra led by keyboardist Michael Sterne and including flute, trumpets, trombone, bass, and percussion. This pit orchestra has been a great addition and hopefully other local theatre companies will follow suit!
See Monty Python’s Spamalot live at Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center June 5-7. Shows begin at 8 PM on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday’s matinee begins at 3 PM. LBM Productions has quite a show in store, so don’t miss this once in a lifetime chance to see Spamalot live in Alexandria!
Spamalot marks the definitive end – an encore even – to the 2014-2015 music season here in Central Louisiana. Indeed, on June 10, three short days later, I leave town for two weeks. My destination: Yellowstone National Park! Along the way, this much-needed vacation will take me to Capulin Volcano in New Mexico; a family wedding in Boulder, Colorado; Devils Tower; Crazy Horse; and Mount Rushmore. This fall MusicCentral returns as your insider source on local music. See you then!
About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a music historian and composer. He is a graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College – Louisiana’s designated honors college – where he completed an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” He has followed classical music around the world, attending the BachFest Leipzig in Germany, Colorado’s Aspen Music Festival, and many concerts across Louisiana and Texas. Resident in Alexandria, Jackson works with the Arts Council of Central Louisiana as Series Director of the Abendmusik Alexandria chamber music series. He also writes the program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra. As his day job, Jackson serves as Operations Manager of TicketCentral.