Dining well in Camelot
The legendary King Arthur and his revered Knights of the Round Table will reappear in Minot Tuesday through July 12 – though they will be hilariously altered from childhood remembrances.
The Minot State University Summer Theatre group will produce “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” a modern and irreverent retelling of the saga of the great king, played by Brett Olson, as well as his immortal men, including Lancelot, portrayed by Zach Lee, and Galahad, played by Daniel Johnson. Claire Hoselton plays the Lady of the Lake, Joe Bussey portrays Sir Robin and Ryan Haider appears as the mayor and Patsy.
While the character may not appear in every King Arthur retelling, this most modern version has a place for Patsy – along with other surprises, such as the mother of Galahad, played by Alphonse Koenigsman; the voice of God, rendered by Eric Furuseth; and “Not Dead Fred,” played by Cole Anderson.
The play is “lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail,'” according to “Spamalot” director Chad Gifford. “The 2005 Broadway production won three Tony awards, including best musical.”
Musical offerings range as widely as the plot line, including some rock, a ballet and something approaching gospel sound.
The set Gifford designed also encompasses King Arthur’s entire realm, including two castles and a “vast and expansive forest.”
He noted many actors play multiple roles, necessitating a half-dozen costume changes. He credited the University of North Dakota theater department for lending many of the costumes.
“Costumes are only one of the challenges in producing ‘Spamalot,'” Gifford said. “One actor changes dialects, too, from French to Scottish in the blink of an eye.”
There is plenty of change in this musical, including the addition of killer rabbits, cows and a bevy of beautiful showgirls. The director noted some parents may be concerned about some language when deciding to bring young children.
“We couldn’t have chosen this play,” Gifford said, “except that we have such a terrific crew working this summer.”
Beyond acting and musical talent, Gifford cited their strong work ethic in everything from building and painting sets to selling tickets and concessions.
He also praised music director Teresa Hargrove, pianist Breana Schwan, choreographer Emily Wirkus and stage managers Annika Kraft and Amanda Kraft, aided by Riley Held. The ensemble also includes Emily Taylor, Maddie Thompson, Megan Wolf, Sam Christman, Michaela Burns, Madison Moen, Katie Abrahamson, Terri Rubbert, Brenna Heupel, Cody Blotter, Jacob Charley, Branden Evans, Chris Pitner, Tim Rosin, Zac Demers, Connor Donovan and Josh Snyder.
The summer theater group enjoys incorporating the newest shows available, such as “Shrek” last year, along with familiar favorites. “Spamalot” just became available for production, Gifford noted.
“Spamalot,” with book and lyrics by Eric Idle and music by John Du Prez, begins at 8:30 p.m. each night. People are encouraged to make reservations by calling 858-3228 during office hours. Tickets are $10 for deck seats, $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, $5 for those 12 and younger, and $3 for MSU faculty, staff and summer students. Military members and families get price breaks; Friday, July 11, is Northern Tier Federal Credit Union military night.