Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA to present Tony Award-winning musical "Spamalot"

October 28, 2014 - Robbie Goodrich
Stephen F. Austin State University's Schools of Theatre and Music will present "Spamalot" by Eric Idle, John Du Prez and Neil Innes at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Nov. 18 through 22, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee performance also scheduled.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - A cast of dozens of absurdly charming characters. A revolving castle. A bombastic pit orchestra playing a tongue-in-cheek score. French soldiers and killer rabbits.

All of this can add up to only one thing - Monty Python's "Spamalot."

Stephen F. Austin State University's Schools of Theatre and Music will present "Spamalot" by Eric Idle, John Du Prez and Neil Innes at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Nov. 18 through 22, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus. A 2 p.m. Saturday matinee performance is also scheduled.

"Spamalot" is the Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of the 1975 classic "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Angela Bacarisse, professor of theatre at SFA, is director and choreographer, and Dr. Stephen Lias, SFA professor of composition, serves as musical director.

"In their quest to find the grail, King Arthur and his knights cross paths with the most absurdly charming characters, including the enchanting Lady of the Lake and the outrageous Knights who say Ni in a story that is sure to delight any audience," Bacarisse said in describing the musical.

"Spamalot" was selected as one of the School of Theatre's Mainstage Series productions this year because its humor and style "are things that I am comfortable with," Bacarisse said, "and I felt it was within my capabilities" as a director. Among her challenges in directing "Spamalot" is the large number of cast members.

"The sheer size and scale of it all … we have 24 in the cast, and at several moments they are all on stage dancing," she said. "Now, add a revolving castle and an orchestra … it's not a small undertaking."

Student actors will also find a number of challenges in performing in "Spamalot," including being tasked with mastering several dialects, from cockney to French to Scottish.

"And they not only speak in them but sing in them, also," Bacarisse said. "Another challenge besides singing in a musical is that this is a very 'dancy' musical. Some of the students are tap dancing for the first time. They have been great about practicing outside of rehearsal, and at the end of just one week, we were looking pretty good."

But as funny and entertaining as it is, "Spamalot" isn't for everyone, Bacarisse said.

"This production retains the humor of the irreverent Monty Python, and as such it is recommended for those who are not easily offended by sarcastic humor about religion, history, sexual stereotypes and scatology," she said. "I, for example, am allowing my 9-year-old to see the production, but we have talked about how certain words and phrases are not appropriate for him to repeat, and about the meaning and use of sarcasm. I would rate the show PG-13 and ask that people use their discretion."

A content advisory is available at theatre.sfasu.edu.

But those who attend the SFA production of "Spamalot" will leave the performance with catchy tunes in their heads and, hopefully, the message of the Lady of the Lake in their hearts.

"I hope they leave with the theme of the show as sung by the Lady of the Lake," Bacarisse said, "that 'life is really up to you, you must choose what to pursue. Set your mind on what to find, and there's nothing you can't do!'"

All School of Theatre Mainstage performances are sponsored in part by Tipton Ford Lincoln of Nacogdoches.

"Spamalot" is also a feature of the SFA College of Fine Arts' 2014-2015 University Series, "Connect." Tickets range from $7.50 to $20, with discounts available for seniors, SFA faculty/staff, students and youth. For tickets or more information, visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.