Lots of laughs
What: Fort Wayne Civic Theatre performs “Monty Python's Spamalot,” the comedy musical based on the 1975 comedy film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
When: 8 p.m. Saturday and Feb. 28, March 1 and March 7-8; and 2 p.m. Sunday and March 2 and 9
Where: Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St.
Cost: $29, adults; $24, seniors at Sunday matinees only; and $17, ages 23 and younger. Tickets available at www.fwcivic.org, by calling 424-5220, or at the ArtsTix Community Box Office in the Arts United Center, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and noon-4 p.m. Saturdays.
Doug King has a tip for enjoying “Monty Python's Spamalot”: “Embrace the dumbness.”
“Even though it is dumb fun, it is brilliantly written,” said King, who both directs and did the choreography for the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre's production of “Spamalot,” which opens Saturday at the Arts United Center.
The show is a stage adaptation of the 1975 comedy film classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
Both the film and stage show offer a wacky retelling of the King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table story. The productions feature oddball knights, a killer rabbit and eccentric French people.
The stage version, which won a Tony Award in 2005 for Best Musical, also features memorable songs such as “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” “His Name is Lancelot” and “The Song that Goes Like This.”
King, a New Haven native who now lives in Indianapolis, has directed several Civic shows over the years. He's always interested when they offer, he said during a phone interview.
He acted in Civic shows while growing up, which led to a friendship with Phillip Colglazier, the Civic's executive/artistic director. He also enjoys working with the actors here.
“People here not only are very delightful, they are very talented,” he said.
That talent compares favorably with that of professionals he works with in Indianapolis, he noted.
In addition, King is a longtime fan of Britain's Monty Python comedy troupe and its films and “Monty Python's Flying Circus” sketch comedy TV series.
The “silliness” of “Spamalot” makes it fun, King said. But it's also challenging to produce.
Because it is based on a widely seen movie, he had to make this stage production “what people know, what they remember, and stay true to the material,” he said.
He then tried to shape the show as the Civic's own, picking moments in the script to emphasize and playing up what local actors can bring to their roles.
To make it more fun for movie fans, King also wove parts of some movie scenes into the production.
Most actors in the cast of 20 must sing, dance and play at least two or three different characters, providing a different look and voice for each character, he said.
“They really are like vaudeville skits pieced together between musical numbers,” he said of the show.
He likes the cast's vocal talent, but he scaled back the dancing because it was a little beyond the abilities of some actors.
It's also been a difficult show for the backstage crew, King said.
He has added more and more props. The actors also go through frequent costume changes, he said, so they need about 100 costumes that slip on and off quickly.