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When: 8 p.m., April 22, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., April 23
Where: Naples Philharmonic Center, 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., Naples
Information: 597-1900, thephil.org
The cast of “Spamalot” will stop in our fair city of Naples on their journey for the Holy Grail. The musical comedy heralded as being “lovingly ripped off” from the film classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” returns to the Naples Philharmonic for three performances today and Saturday.
“I would bring anything to the Phil,” said Stephen Kane, the executive producer of the show and a resident of Naples for two years. “It’s an amazing venue, and the people of Naples are friendly and a great theater crowd.”
Based loosely on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and written by Eric Idle, Kane’s rendition of the musical is true to the original with the same script, scenes and costumes, he said. He even kept the same production team from the Broadway show that won three Tony awards, including best musical. However, there is a new lighting and sound designer.
“We wanted to give the audience the same feel of the original show but with a modern, fresh edge,” said Kane, the co-founder of Phoenix Entertainment, a theatrical production and management company.
Although this “Spamalot” has a few enhancements, audiences will find the same crude yet clever one-liners and goofball parodies they have come to expect from the musical.
“The comedy and parody is timeless and legendary,” said Kane who raises his two sons Andrew and Aidan in town. “There are things you don’t change.”
Caroline Bowman, who plays Lady of the Lake, said the hardest part is letting the show’s classic comedy shine.
“Sometimes you get carried away with the material,” said Bowman, a graduate of Penn State University who has acted in two other Phoenix Entertainment productions — “Fame” and “Grease.” “You can’t go overboard with the comedy and have to let the material stand on its own because that will always be funny.”
This is Bowman’s first big role in a major U.S. production, and she is ecstatic about being part of the touring musical, which is set to continue throughout the year.
“It’s fun and exciting to delve into the part, put into these crazy situations and interact with all of these characters that are so larger than life,” said Bowman who admits she had never seen the Monty Python comedic troupe perform or “Spamalot” before getting the role. “I’m really so happy to have this opportunity.”
The cast has been on a non-stop North American tour since October. They didn’t even have a break for the holidays. Despite the continuous touring, Bowman said the show stays fresh because the cast is having fun and evolving every night.”
“We have fun with it,” Bowman said. “We still laugh and are constantly improving every time we’re on stage.”
This is Kane’s first show in Naples since becoming a resident, and he anticipates neighbors and friends in the audience. Kane said he made sure to include a few jokes specific to the town.
“I don’t want to give anything away but there will be laughs tailored for the Naples audience,” Kane said.
Kane hopes to pack that crowd with a mix of people. Those who grew up watching Monty Python, and those, like Bowman, who have never been exposed.
“There are the people that know it and will forever love it,” Kane said. “For those that aren’t familiar, I hope they don’t get tripped up by the Monty Python element. You don’t have to have seen it to enjoy wonderfully written tongue-in-cheek comedy.”
“It’s going to leave everyone humming and smiling.”