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‘Spamalot’ takes a holy quest to IU Auditorium



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Spamalot performers dance at 8 p.m. Oct. 30 in the IU Auditorium. The musical will play Oct. 31 at the same time.  Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

Based on the classic comedy film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “Monty Python's Spamalot” will be performed at 8 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31 in the IU Auditorium. 

In the musical, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table set out on a quest to find the mythical “holy grail.”

Monty Python, a British sketch comedy troupe, is known for its television show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” and its feature films “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.”

When “Spamalot” first appeared on Broadway in 2005, it was greeted by 14 Tony Award nominations and won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical. The original production, which ran for 1,575 performances, featured Tim Curry as King Arthur and original Monty Python cast member John Cleese as the Voice of God. 

The musical has since been revived in numerous touring productions and on London’s West End. 

The national touring production that will come to Bloomington launched its run Oct. 22 and features new actors and veteran players of the Monty Python tribute musical. 

IU graduate Robert Toms, a new cast member who plays in the ensemble and a few minor roles, said “Spamalot” is his first national tour. He said that IU’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program helped him land the role in the musical.

“The movie is a series of coherent sketches and a lot of the same sketches are word for word in the show,” Toms said. “There have been a few tweaks to make it friendlier for the stage.”

He said familiarity with the movie is helpful to understand some of the jokes but said audiences will still love it if they haven't seen it.

Houston-native actress Leslie Jackson plays “Lady of the Lake,” a character who doesn’t appear in the film, yet makes an appearance in the musical. The difference the Lady of the Lake makes for the musical is she tells King Arthur where to find the Holy Grail and serves as his love interest. 

“It’s a lot of fun,” Jackson said. “You’ll laugh a lot.”

Jackson said playing a comedic part has been a fun challenge for her and she said she’s found her own style to be more understated.

“You have to stay so true to comedy,” Jackson said. 

Toms, who said he is a Monty Python fan, saw the show on London's West End and at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. 

“When I saw it in the Pantages, some of the people who are in the cast now were up on stage,” Toms said. 

Doug Booher, executive director of IU Auditorium, said he was excited to bring “Spamalot“to Bloomington.

“Monty Python revolutionized comedy in the 20th century and we are very fortunate to be able to bring a piece of that onto the IU Auditorium stage with ‘Spamalot,’ Booher said in a press release. “Both comedy and theatre lovers will be able to appreciate the playful parody, hilarious songs, and lavish costumes and set pieces that set the scene for King Arthur’s quest with his Knights of the Round Table.” 

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