The Royal Treatment: M&M Productions and Ross Music Theatre ready for grand-scale 'Spamalot'

2014-01-09T00:00:00Z The Royal Treatment: M&M Productions and Ross Music Theatre ready for grand-scale 'Spamalot'By Philip Potempa
January 09, 2014 12:00 am  • 

While Mike Reinhart is busy helping finish final touches for the sets of his Northwest Indiana theater group's latest stage production, his wife is busy sewing a school of fish, the scaly, silly props needed for the splashy big opening number of their new musical.

"Because of the weather, we've been busy catching up," said Reinhart, leading the charge for the funny and over-the-top medieval spoof "Monty Python's Spamalot."

"But it's a fun show to do and we have a talented cast with lots of energy keeping us on schedule."

M & M Productions and Ross Music Theatre unveils their new run of "Spamalot" this weekend, with performances continuing the following weekend through Jan. 19.

"Lovingly ripped-off" as an adapted stage musical from the classic 1975 British humor film comedy "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," with book and lyrics by Eric Idle and a score created by Idle and John Du Prez, it retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, and features a bevy of beautiful show girls, with cows, killer rabbits and sarcastic French people tossed in for added silly seasoning.

The 2005 Broadway production won three Tony Awards, including "Best Musical," and received 14 Tony Award nominations.

"This talented cast has actors and actresses that come from all over Northwest Indiana from Merrillville to Kouts to Elkhart, and Michigan City," Reinhart said.

"We did the auditions last September and had intended for this to be an October run, but then decided to push it back as the first production to welcome the new year."

Among the large cast are Doug DeLaughter of Crown Point as King Arthur, Tim Slatton of Michigan City as Sir Robin, Will Akins of Merrillville as Sir Lancelot, Steve Elser of Merrillville as Patsy, Russel Cole of Merrillville as Sir Galahad, Pat Pohrte of Schererville as The Black Knight, Jacob Reinhart of Merrillville as Sir Bedevere, Justin Williams of Elkhart as Prince Herbert and Sheree Guderman of Kouts as The Lady of the Lake.

"The show promises to be stunning both the eyes and ears with 40 moving lights hazers, fog machines, 25 cordless mics and a 20 plus piece orchestra," Reinhart said.

"Add to that some hilarious Monty Python animation and this will be a great night of entertainment."

He said had the production played the original fall run, it would have ranked as the first regional product of this musical. However, in November, Marian Theatre Guild in Whiting launched a successful run that also attracted eager audiences.

The first professional regional production of this salute of silly songs and parody skits that comprise the Monty Python trademark humor was in December 2010 at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook. Prior the New York of the original production, Broadway producers first tested it with a Windy City run that took Chicago by storm when it was ran in 2004 before heading to Broadway.

Even the producers for the Drury Lane run were nervous about tackling such a large-scale production, until they struck a deal to lease all of the original costumes for the London production of "Spamalot."

The Broadway musical production has about 2,000 costumes and needed accessories, when considering everything from the shields and chainmail to the armor.

Reinhart said no costumes nor props or scenery have been rented for his production this month.

"We've created everything right here, with the casting helping out with much of the costuming," he said.

The original production that played Broadway boasted more than 1,500 hysterical performances, sharing a silly version of the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and their quest for the Holy Grail as they encounter everything from a chorus line of beautiful dancing divas to a legless knight and even disco balls.

"We really haven't changed much," Reinhart said.

"But we do emphasize it is rated PG-13 so that families and parents use their own discretion for the silly humor."

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