Montrose Players ham up Spamalot

"The Lady of the Lake," Kyra Ricci, sings with her "Laker Girls," (Lizzie Bennici, Alicia Gardoski, Madison Purtell, and Alex Savage. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

“The Lady of the Lake,” Kyra Ricci, sings with her “Laker Girls,” (Lizzie Bennici, Alicia Gardoski, Madison Purtell, and Alex Savage. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

BY PAT FARNELLI

Montrose Area High School put on what may well be the first high school production of Monty Python’s musical “Spamalot” Friday and Saturday to a delighted audience.

“We are proud to be one of the first few public high schools in the state to be presenting this musical,” Director Heather Winn said.

“After the show ended its national tour, it released the rights for performance only as of mid-March 2013. With many of the new shows on Broadway being difficult (or impossible) to translate onto the high school stage, it is increasingly rare for students to be able to say that they were the “first” in their local area to put on a show like this. We have worked very hard to be able to say it with pride!”

Visibly pregnant, Winn noted in the program: “of all the foreseeable challenges, I didn’t not anticipate producing a baby at the same time as I was producing a major musical. Both take about nine months, and neither is ever as easy as you’d expect it to be.”

The director note in the program said, “When the curtain rises on this show, I will hopefully still be 36 weeks pregnant with what many of the kids consider the youngest member of their class, and my first child.”

King Arthur (Joe Vaccaro) and his page Patsy ( Marisa Vanness) arrive at Camelot. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

King Arthur (Joe Vaccaro) and his page Patsy ( Marisa Vanness) arrive at Camelot. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

She thanked her family and her husband for their help and support, and her cast for their patience and humor.

The musical is “lovingly” ripped off from “Monty Python’s Holy Grail”, with elements of “Life of Brian” and other silly products of the Python troupe.

Director Heather Winn said that this show has been decided on for years.

“Sometimes it can be tough to make sure that you’ve got the right show for the group of kids you have. She said that during intermission while watching this show on Broadway several years ago, she looked at her husband and said, “This show would be so much fun to do in high school. Can you even imagine the kids doing this?”

He pointed out several challenges, she said. “But I think deep down he knew that the ship had already sailed.”

The cast has, for the most part, mastered a British accent, and the unique cadence of Python banter.

The role of King Arthur is played by Joe Vaccarro, and Marisa Vanness is Patsy, his attendant with the coconuts.

Madeline Weidow handles at least six roles, including the taunter.

Kira Karpov is Sir Lancelot, and Dan Powers is Sir Robin and Prince Herbert.
Gracie Lutz is Sir Robin’s minstrel and a Ni Knight. Tucson Cutsogeorge is Frenchie, Wedding Guard #2, a Ni Knight, and a member of the ensemble.

Alyssa Cutri has the very visible role of “Sir Not-Appearing-in-This Film.”
Frank Lubash portrays, in turn, Dennis’s mother, The Black Knight, and Herbert’s father.

Liam McKeeby is Sir Bedevere and one of the Knights of Ni. Ivy Chance is Concorde and an ensemble member.

Lizzie Bennici, Alicia Gardoski, Madison Purtell, and Alex Savage were the “Laker Girls.”

The absolute diva of the show is The Lady of the Lake, splendidly portrayed by Kyra Ricci, with much melodrama, and flamboyant song styling. The awkward musical number “The Song That Goes Like This” is the obligatory song one would expect in a legend, very grand and somewhat romantic.

However, the awkwardness of the song increases with the lyrics, as it becomes a duet with Dennis/Sir Galahad, played by her brother, Chris Ricci, until both singers are overcome with annoyance.

The scenery is appropriately cartoonish, including a painted stone castle and an astroturf pyramid.

Big ensemble musical numbers include “All For One,” “Kinghts of the Round Table,” “Find Your Grail,” “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (twice),” and “We Are Not Yet Wed.”