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Hampton's production of 'Monty Python's Spamalot' sure to entertain audiences

| Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 5:48 p.m.
Junior Vanessa Pletz , senior Noah Hilton, and sophomore Grace Ramsey prepare for 'Monty Python's Spamalot.'
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Junior Vanessa Pletz , senior Noah Hilton, and sophomore Grace Ramsey prepare for 'Monty Python's Spamalot.'
Alex Wood, a senior, left, Jodi Zatezalo, a junior, Noah Hilton, a senior, Anna Shumaker, a sophomore, and Hanna Bennett, a freshman, rehearse a scene for the musical at Hampton High School where 'Monty Python's Spamalot' will be performed.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Alex Wood, a senior, left, Jodi Zatezalo, a junior, Noah Hilton, a senior, Anna Shumaker, a sophomore, and Hanna Bennett, a freshman, rehearse a scene for the musical at Hampton High School where 'Monty Python's Spamalot' will be performed.
Sophomores Grace Ramsey and Anna Dougan Bacha, as well as freshman Elena Orban, work on a dance number during rehearsals for the musical.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Sophomores Grace Ramsey and Anna Dougan Bacha, as well as freshman Elena Orban, work on a dance number during rehearsals for the musical.
Senior Noah Hilton plays Sir Robin in Hampton High School's spring musical 'Monty Python's Spamalot.'
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Senior Noah Hilton plays Sir Robin in Hampton High School's spring musical 'Monty Python's Spamalot.'
Juniors Meghan McMorrow, Maggie Doan and Rachel Surgent prepare for Hampton HIgh School's musical 'Monty Python's Spamalot.'
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Juniors Meghan McMorrow, Maggie Doan and Rachel Surgent prepare for Hampton HIgh School's musical 'Monty Python's Spamalot.'

Hampton High School is bringing yet another modern musical to the stage, to make audiences laugh.

The high school's spring musical production of “Monty Python's Spamalot” will open April 8 at the school auditorium.

Director and high school art teacher Dan Franklin said the school has been wanting to put on the musical spinoff of the popular 1975 comedy film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” for a while.

Franklin said they enjoy doing newer musicals and bringing to life shows based on other pieces of art.

“We get a thrill out of bringing songs to the audience that they don't know, but we're doing it with characters they already know,” he said

The cast of 35 and crew of about 50 students are working to bring the whimsical show to life.

The high school theater program has a history of success in doing modern comedy shows. The 2014 production of “Young Frankenstein” won six Gene Kelly awards, including Best Musical, and last year's “The Addams Family” was nominated for four Gene Kelly awards.

Choreographer Jen Lavella said doing more modern shows gives them room to make the shows their own. Many people have strict expectations of old standards, but with new shows there is room to make changes.

“We want to find something we're passionate about,” she said. “(With standard shows) there is not as much room for creativity.”

The musical is “lovingly ripped-off” from the film on which it is based, Franklin said. Monty Python fans will find all their favorite scenes and sketches from “The Holy Grail,” plus some nods to other Monty Python skits. Audience members unfamiliar with the British comedy troupe's work still should find plenty of humor.

“They kept a lot of the iconic jokes,” said senior Alex Wood, who plays Sir Galahad and Prince Herbert. “Knights of Ni, the black knight. Even if you're not a Monty Python fan, you'll love it.”

Playing two large roles has been fun, Wood said. Although it is keeping him busy, what's more difficult is nailing the comedic timing of each joke or gag during the show.

The Hampton students are well-versed in comedy from past years experience.

“There's a lot of that dry British humor and there's also a bit of slapstick comedy,” Wood said. “Everyone is trying to bring something to the show, so it's going to be good.”

One change from the film is the addition of lead character Lady of the Lake, played by junior Gabriella Conley. Conley said the Lady is a spotlight-loving diva who joins the knights on their journey to find the holy grail.

This is Conley's first lead role in a high school production, but she has been involved with the school musicals since middle school. She's excited to take the stage with fellow cast members and entertain audience on April 8.

“The show is really funny,” she said. “I'm laughing just watching it during rehearsals. The cast is really great and it's a very entertaining show overall.”

Rachel Farkas is a contributing writer for the Tribune-Review.

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