BRISTOL — Known for its zany — and sometimes taboo — humor, Monty Python’s “Spamalot” is ready to hit the stage at the Bristol Opera House.
The Elkhart Civic Theatre will take on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical with seven shows throughout November. “Spamalot,” based on the classic comedy “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” premieres at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8.
“It’s got great production numbers and lots of humor,” raves John Shoup, the theater’s artistic and technical director. “Some of it’s baudy, and some of it’s what you would call guy humor, or potty humor, because that’s what Monty Python was famous for, but at the same time, it’s got a great love story and memorable characters.”
“Spamalot,” created by Monty Python alumnus Eric Idle and composer and frequent Python collaborator John Du Prez, is set in 937 A.D. and follows King Arthur as he searches high and low for a band of knights to help in his epic quest for the Holy Grail. The production, directed by Penny Meyers, features a cast of veteran actors and a few new faces, including Rick Nymeyer as King Arthur; Shoup as the king’s trusty servant, Patsy; Adrienne Nesbitt as the Lady of the Lake; Deron Bergstresser as Galahad; Geoff Trowbridge as Lancelot; Brent Graber as Bedevere and many more. Many of the actors, including Shoup, are loyal fans of Monty Python, a comedy troupe that created the British sketch series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
“Growing up in the late ’60s and early ’70s, they were all the rage,” Shoup said.
Shoup said the cast has had a blast rehearsing, but bringing a large Broadway musical to a relatively small stage has not been without its challenges.
“For example, we have a Trojan rabbit, which is one of the big scenes in the show, and it’s about 7 or 8 feet wide and about 10 1/2 feet tall, so that’s about half our stage,” he said. “So, for us, the person who designed that had to think outside the box, so it hinges and folds up into the wing, so it doesn’t take as much space.”
Shoup said “Spamalot” will appeal not only to Monty Python fans, but also to theatergoers who enjoy absurd comedy.
“For me, it’s like an old-fashioned musical comedy,” he said. “I think that’s one of the reasons why it did so well on Broadway.”
Tickets for “Spamalot” are selling quickly, Shoup said. Shows are scheduled for 8 p.m. Nov. 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23, with a matinee at 3 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Bristol Opera House, 210 E. Vistula St. Tickets are $17 for adults and $15 for students and seniors 62 and older. Tickets are sold online at elkhartcivictheatre.org and over the phone by calling 848-4116 from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.