Hilarity Ensues With Spamalot

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Knights, kings and princes will converge at Carle Place High School this weekend as the theater department puts on its annual musical. This year’s production has the theater department getting absolutely medieval as they present Monthy Python’s Spamalot.

The popular Broadway musical, based on the 1975 movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, follows King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as they search for the Holy Grail. The production is known for its silly, cheeky humor.

Spamalot_030515BShow director and producer Joni Russo says part of the reason she chose Spamalot was because it was a great vehicle to teach kids how to do something new.

“Educationally, it’s about how to do comedy. It’s about timing and waiting for applause and making the right face at the right time,” said Russo, who is the fine and performing arts department chairperson for Carle Place. “This is very much out of their comfort zone, but with every show we do there’s reasons we pick it. It’s not just about doing a show, but we make it a whole educational experience.”

Students have learned more about comedic timing, diction and projection on stage. They’ve also had to learn how to master different accents.

Sophomore Jean-Marie Neave plays the Lady of the Lake and says having to adopt a British accent was one of the biggest challenges of the play. Neave enjoyed bringing out her character’s temperamental, prima donna personality on stage.

“She’s really out there, and I’m not usually that kind of person so I have to be a different person,” said Neave. “But I’d never really do that in real life so I get to do something really different which is really cool.”

Playing the lead character of King Arthur is junior Tom Vestuto. This is Vestuto’s 19th show, but his first big role on stage.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to have a lead of my own,” said Vestuto. “To have a lead like this is something I’ll never forget.”

Spamalot_030515CVestuto has previously directed the Carle Place student-run musical and that experience, as well as working with the other students and advisors in the musical, has helped him with his own acting.

“When you get to see other talented actors act, you learn from it,” said Vestuto. “It translates into everything I’ve been able to do here. I learn from everyone around me.”

The 60 students who make up the cast and crew of Spamalot provide each other a supportive environment, helping each other with lines and cues and lavishing praise when someone excels. The students are supported by staff members and local residents who dedicate their time to help keep the show running smoothly.

“It’s a lot of work and there’s a lot of people involved who help it come to life, and all their talents together help make it a fabulous project,” said Russo. “It’s fabulous when you see it in its entirety.”

Check out Spamalot at Carle Place High School Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

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