OFFBEAT: Local actor having fun for new run of 'Spamalot'

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-03-31T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Local actor having fun for new run of 'Spamalot'By Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

A Blessed and Happy Easter!

While most are dining on ham-a-lot today, I'm thinking about "Spamalot," as in the hit stage musical.

Jedlicka Performing Arts Center in Cicero, Ill. is concluding its 2012-13 season with the Tony Award-winning Best Musical "Monty Python's Spamalot" with book and lyrics by Eric Idle, music by John Du Prez and Idle, directed by Dante J. Orfei, music direction by John Warren and choreography by Christopher Pazdernik.

It's playing April 19 to May 4 at this great performance space located at 3801 S. Central Ave. in Cicero.

What makes this production especially exciting is we have a local actor from the Region starring in the ensemble.

Russell Ramstrom of Lowell, a graduate of Ball State University where he studied telecommunications and musical theater, was last seen playing the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz" at Chicago's Provision Theatre and in Shoestring Productions' "Listen To My Heart."

He says he's thankful for his family always supporting his dream and "incredibly excited" to be working on one of his favorite musicals with what he calls "such an amazing cast."

Taking his cue from this musical's theme (and hit song and dance number), he said he's learned to: "Always look on the bright side of life!"

He'll have some Hoosier company for this run. Joining him in the ensemble is Jordan Taylor, from Auburn, Ind. and Jameson Wentwoth, playing Sir Galahad, from Kokomo and Nappanee.

Winner of three 2005 Tony Awards including Best Musical, "Monty Python's Spamalot" is the outrageous musical comedy lovingly ripped off from the film classic "Monty Python and The Holy Grail."

Audiences follow the tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they embark on their funny quest for the Holy Grail.

" 'Spamalot' is a work which strikes a unique comic chord in its audiences,"  Director Orfei said.

"For some, it conjures their memories of that distinctive style humor on which they transitioned from adolescence into the adult world. For others, it is boundless satire of the Arthurian legends while it relentlessly jabs at the world of the Broadway musical theater. The brilliance of its writing creates a delightful evening of theater irrespective of what each audience member brings to the performance. All are destined to leave with a smile."

The production team for "Monty Python's Spamalot" includes Michael Nedza for scenic and properties design and as technical director, Lindsay Prerost for costume design, Micheal Kott's multimedia/sound design, Orfei with lighting design, Peggy Ward as stage manager, Anna Garcia for assistant stage manager and Melanie Lamoureux as managing director.

Tickets are $18 and $16 senior discount. Group rates are available. FYI: or call (708) 656-1800. Parking is free.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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