“Spamalot” Performance Rocks Orcas Center

— a review by Lin McNulty —

No matter how long a play is in rehearsals, no matter the months that go into planning, there is one element that remains an unknown until opening night: the audience reaction. And last night’s opening performance of “Spamalot” brought together a lively, talented, eager cast with an equally-lively, eager audience in a synergistic coalescence reminiscent of, well, Orcas Center productions of old.

Director Doug Bechtel’s dream to produce a musical, after years of successful stage plays with Actors Theater of Orcas Island, found its awakening moment on Thursday night at Orcas Center. As Musical Director Jim Shaffer-Bauck notes in the program, “If you are yearning for some kind of ridiculously difficult task, approach Doug Bechtel next time you see him in The Lower and just reply “sure” to whatever he says, then resign yourself to not getting a full night’s sleep for the next few months.” That speaks volumes about the nature of this undertaking.

“Monty Python’s Spamalot” spins the tale of the Arthurian Legend of the quest for the holy grail in a most amusing, irreverent manner as puns, songs, and tap dancing weave their way around a stage that is constantly in flux. Frank Michels, as King Arthur, fully embodies the determined King in song and dance. Holly King’s Lady of the Lake character beautifully fills the house with her strong vocals. In their brief moments together on stage, they fall in love (or something like that) and the audience fully embraces them.

King Arthur’s knights, Chris Della Santa, Aaimee Johnson (great mustache!), Indy Zoeller, Joe Andrews, and Jared Larson sing and dance their way into the heart of the audience. Tony Lee’s impersonations are always a joy and this was no exception.

The Laker Girls — Melinda Milligan, Suzanne Gropper, Michele Griskey, Anne Marie Schultz, Liz Doane, and Margo Van Gelder — mastered all kinds of dance moves and song, frolicking about the stage as if they had been doing it for years.

It’s a raucous quick-moving production, with something new happening each moment.

The production continues at Orcas Center this Friday and Saturday, and next week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for Monty Python’s Spamalot are $17, $13 for students, $2 off for Orcas Center members, and may be purchased now at www.orcascenter.org or by calling 376-2281 ext. 1 or visiting the Orcas Center Box Office open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12-2 pm. $5 subsidized tickets available at the Box Office. For more information about Orcas Center’s 2017 season visit www.orcascenter.org.

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“Spamalot” Performance Rocks Orcas Center — 7 Comments

  1. Go. Laugh. Suspend disbelief. Enjoy enjoying and laughing with your neighbors, and completely absorb this community event. Don’t miss this antidote to current events!

  2. Absolutely wonderful, over-the-top performances by all. The acting, singing, dancing, orchestration and direction are outstanding. So are the costumes and stage set. This is just a remarkable show of talent. Bravo, Orcas Center!

  3. Such an amazing treat to arrive on Orcas and attend such a wonderful event!
    The actors were all superb, and the costumes were perfect! Suzanne Gropper in her horns! Carl Burger in tights! Joe Andrews in a dress, just to mention a few. Who could ask for more? Don’t miss it. As always, Orcas continues to be a progressive, fun, and surprising community. Thank you-and keep up the enormous efforts and great work in everything that happens here.

  4. Ditto Clyde! Wow what high energy, talent and joy these actors have! Rehearsing for a very long time then 6 performances. Don’t miss this gem, guaranteed to leave you feeling lighter, happier and still thinking about it. Opening night was a great success with spam specialties after at the reception. Do go and support these actors and their Director Doug Bechtel.

  5. Do not miss this treat, folks! All the work and sweat over the past few months has resulted in a gem of a show. Kudos to Doug, Jim, and Susie for putting it all together. And loud cheers to that terrific cast who have stuck with the grind and given our community a fantastic, fun and memorable “Broadway” show!

  6. Spamalot is a superior event that will endure for many years as a performance that is one of best the people of this island have enjoyed. This dynamic and powerful event is non-stop excitement and and humor when 29 highly talented men and women perform. They act, sing, dance as they excel to portray the story of King Arthur, his royal knights and Lady of the Lake. This grand cast performs with the sounds of 12 magnificent musicians. Over 40 other people worked many hours to provide costumes, set and prop construction and technical assistance. The cast devoted hundreds of hours for rehearsals, to memorize songs, dances and lines so they could perform with perfection. Most important is the love and enthusiasm of director Doug Bechtel who has dreamed of bringing a mjor musical performance to Orcas. All six performances of Spamalot were sold out well in advance. Many people wanted to attend but all seats were taken. The people of Orcas Island want this type of performance. All the performers, the musicians and support team are residents of Orcas. We look forward to the future when Doug Bechtel works with the talent of this island to develop more grand events. Thank you Orcas Center and Team Spamalot.