The 2017 season of the Theatre in the Park opens Friday with the irreverent musical comedy “Spamalot,” based on the 1975 film classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
“Spamalot” follows King Arthur and his Knights of the Roundtable on their wacky search for the Holy Grail that leads them to The Lady of the Lake, beautiful showgirls, killer rabbits and cows.
The show is the 13th to be directed by Barb Nichols at The Theatre in the Park.
“I grew up watching ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’ It’s probably my favorite musical comedy,” she said.
“I like the story, the music and the laughs it’s brought to generations. As for deep, underlying messages we can take from ‘Spamalot,’ I’m not sure there are any.”
Brian Larios, a Kansas City attorney, is making his debut at The Theatre in the Park as King Arthur.
“It’s my second brush with royalty,” Larios said with a laugh. “I played King Arthur in ‘Camelot’ 30 years ago when I was a student at Ottawa University.”
“I’ve been in ‘My Fair Lady’ with the Leawood Stage Company and ‘The Producers’ at the Barn Players, and I was anxious to give The Theatre in the Park a try so I auditioned this spring,” he said. “I’m glad I was picked for ‘Spamalot.’ It’s been a lot of fun, a lot of laughs.”
The Lady of the Lake — who gave Arthur the sword Excalibur, making him King of England — is portrayed by Lyndsey Agron.
“I love the character. I portrayed her several years ago when ‘Spamalot’ played at the Jewish Community Center,” Agron said. “It’s so much fun. I’d play it again if it comes along.”
Agron has been active in theater since she was 12. The Shawnee Mission South High School alum graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2005, where she earned a degree in vocal performance.
“The music in ‘Spamalot’ is beautiful,” she said. “I love every song I sing. So many different styles and they’re all fun.”
Agron was in “Children of Eden” at The Theatre in the Park in 2014 and “Hello Dolly” and “Big River” before that. She lives in Overland Park.
Last year Guy Gardner directed “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at The Theatre in the Park. He’s back this year playing Sir Lancelot in “Spamalot.”
“It’s nice to get back to acting now and then,” Gardner said. “It’s less stressful when you’re doing what someone tells you than when you’re the one doing the telling. Playing Lancelot is fun. He does strange things in ‘Spamalot.’”
Gardner graduated from Lansing High School in 2006 and went to work with Walt Disney Company in Orlando.
“It was a tremendous experience. I learned all about theater: performing, directing, choreographing, design and more. I’m involved with 15 or so productions in some capacity every year.”
Patsy, King Arthur’s loyal servant, is played by Wyatt Walberg, who graduated from Olathe East this spring. He will attend the University of Hartford in Connecticut, where he will major in musical theater. He’s been in “Peter Pan” and “Honk” at The Theatre in the Park.
“Though he might not seem like it, Patsy’s really a dynamic character. He travels the land with King Arthur helping recruit followers in the hunt for the Holy Grail,” Walberg said. “I like the role. I do a lot of tap dancing, which is my favorite.”
“Spamalot” is one of his favorite shows.
“I saw it when it was produced at Olathe East three years ago. I wasn’t in it but I liked it,” Walberg said. “It’s a blast; the comedy is great. The timing is so good.”
Ken Koval auditioned for the 2017 season at The Theatre in the Park because his 5-year-old son Braedon wanted him to be in “Beauty and the Beast.”
“I didn’t make ‘Beauty’ but I was picked for Galahad in ‘Spamalot,’ which was probably better because people tell me I’m funny,” said Koval, who lives in Lenexa. “I enjoy making people laugh, so ‘Spamalot’ is right in my wheelhouse.”
“Spamalot” opened on Broadway in 2005 and ran for 1,500 performances. It drew 2 million people, grossed $175 million and won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
If you go
“Spamalot” runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday and again June 7 through June 10 at 8:30 p.m. at The Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission Park. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 youths and children 3 and under free.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.theatreinthepark.org or at the theater box office.