ShareThis Page
‘Spamalot,’ a musical passionate about silliness |
Theater & Arts

‘Spamalot,’ a musical passionate about silliness

| Thursday, July 24, 2014 8:55 p.m
Bruce Bennett
The Lady of the Lake in 'Spamalot'

Marc Robin has been a fan of Monty Python films since he was a youngster growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

He watched “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” so many times that he could recite large parts from memory.

“It never occurred to me that it would become a musical,” he says.

That love of the movie’s offbeat humor and silliness continued into adulthood and his career as a director and choreographer.

“I love its style of humor. It’s so clever, so smart, so fun,” says Robin, who is directing and choreographing the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” which begins performances July 29 at the Benedum Center, Downtown.

It’s the fourth time he has directed and choreographed the musical.

Previous productions were for Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick, Maine; Theatre under the Stars in Houston, Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Mo., and at the Fulton Theater in Lancaster, where he has been the artistic director for nearly six years.

The musical puts an irreverent, Pythonesque spin on the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table on their quest for the Holy Grail, complete with flying cows, killer rabbits, taunting Frenchmen and knights who say “Ni!”

The book for the musical was created by Eric Idle, a member of the original comedy troupe who wrote and performed the British television comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and one of a sextet of Python participants who wrote and starred in the 1975 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Idle wrote the lyrics and co-created the music with John Du Prez.

The score contains tributes to Python fan-favorite moments with “The Fisch Schlapping Song”; “I Am Not Dead Yet,” sung by a chorus headed by Not Dead Fred; and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” Other musical number are “The Diva’s Lament,” sung by The Lady of the Lake; “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” and multiple reprises of “The Song That Goes Like This.”

“What I love is its sense of fun. But it has a huge heart. At the end of the day, it’s about finding your (own) grail, your passion,” Robin says.

Having just completed back-to-back productions of “Les Miserables” and a musical about the Civil War, he’s looking forward to working on this light comedy with tap-dancing knights and a search for shrubbery.

“It’s so silly,” Robin says. “There are so many moments I love playing with. The rehearsal process is a group of adults laughing like children. … It’s a blast both to do and for the audience to watch.”

Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808, or via Twitter @ATCarter_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.