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June 25, 2014
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Holy Grail of theater is Monty Python’s ‘Spamalot’ at Backstage

The Backstage Theatre begins its run of the 2005 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” with a champagne opening night on Thursday, June 26, at the theater in Breckenridge.

The stage adaptation of the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “Spamalot” details in irreverent fashion the story of England’s King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table and their lowbrow search for the Holy Grail.

“It’s very similar to the movie, and it adds a bunch of different Monty Python skits very subtlety, as well,” said Tim Howard, who, like most of the cast, plays a variety of roles in the production. “It’s an all around great show, and anyone who loves Monty Python would love the show.”

Memorable characters

Howard plays the Historian, who narrates some of the musical, and a couple of other minor roles that have very memorable lines in the movie. He said all of his characters are very different and fun to play, including Prince Herbert, who lives in the swamp tower; Not Dead Fred, star of the “bring out your dead” scene; a Minstrel and a French Guard.

“The humor is dry and quick and witty; it’s very British humor,” Howard said. “Some people actually won’t get it, won’t find it funny — I have friends who don’t find it funny — but I think everyone else will appreciate the gags and the jokes that the show is. The show is just one big gag.”

Daniel Langhoff, of Denver, stars in the lead role of King Arthur, who is on a quest for the Grail. Langhoff said anyone who has been saddled with what seems like an impossible task can relate to Arthur.

“The reason I think he’s fun and familiar is he’s the guy who starts off with all the highest hopes and best intentions and he’s pretty sure it’s going to happen but he just doesn’t know how, and he keeps getting derailed, but it’s not by anything important,” Langhoff said.

“The little things just keep getting in the way. The important thing is that between his invulnerable fortitude and the support of those around him, he can achieve it and he can accept help to do it.”

Cast and crew

Backstage artistic director Christopher Willard designed the set and directs the show, which stars an all-professional cast, including returning Backstage actors Mark Middlebrooks in the role of Sir Robin, Charlie Schmidt as Sir Bedevere, Cory Wendling as Lancelot and Melanie Horton as the Lady of the Lake. Langhoff said a few elements make this production of “Spamalot” stand out from others.

“We have a great cast, for one thing, and to be fair, you can’t do this show without a strong cast and without a very smart director,” he said. “I think that’s the other thing that’s kind of essential. What’s unique about this one is that it’s being done on the Breckenridge stage, which is so small. It’s a big, technical show, and yet we’re pulling it off with less than half of the space that most theaters have, and I’m pretty proud of that.”

“Chris Willard did a great job sticking to the show and how it’s supposed to be done,” Howard added.

Creative takes on some of the characters and settings give familiar scenes new life, Langhoff said, and even those not familiar with the film can find humor in the sketches.

“It’s a great satirical take on the classic legend of Arthur trying to find the Holy Grail and save his country,” Langhoff said.

The Breckenridge Backstage Theatre offers a café-style, pre-show atmosphere in the lobby with mixed drinks and snacks, including the signature drink for this performance, The Holy Grail. For more information on the theater’s 40th anniversary season, visit www.backstagetheatre.org.


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The Summit Daily Updated Jul 1, 2014 02:35PM Published Jun 30, 2014 11:57AM Copyright 2014 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.