'Laughing from beginning to end." That's how Artistic Director Bill Starr describes Woodside Community Theatre's production of "Monty Python's Spamalot," which opens Friday, Oct. 25, for two weekends.
"This is a laughing show, full of humor, all types of comedy, whether it be vaudeville, slapstick or physical comedy," he says, holding true to the original spoof of the Arthurian legend that charmed Broadway audiences in 2005.
Based on the 1975 British film, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," the musical won Tony Awards with whimsical songs such as "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," which is from another Python move, "The Life of Brian."
Eric Idle wrote the book and lyrics, John Du Prez the music.
WCT's production features 29 cast members, many playing multiple roles. Co-producer Donna Losey says that this year the actors "came from far and wide to do the show -- San Jose, San Francisco and El Cerrito."
As King Arthur, Russ Bohard reprises the same lead role he played at Hillbarn Theatre. He works at SHN's box office in San Francisco, and appeared in WCT's "South Pacific" eight years ago.
Annemarie Martin is making her WCT debut as Lady of the Lake. She comes from San Jose, where some might recognize her for singing the national anthem at San Jose Sharks games.
Rehearsals have been taking place at Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park.
Mark Wong takes the train from San Jose, where he is studying piano performance. His voice instructor advised him to do a show, so he auditioned and joined the ensemble.
Sheraz Ragoobeer of Menlo Park has the shortest commute. In the ensemble he plays Fred, the star of the "He's Not Dead Yet" song; otherwise he works at a dispensary.
Brandon Savage has appeared in off-Broadway shows. He works at Box now, and is back at WCT as Galahad. He played Father in "Ragtime" in 2016.
Hillview science teacher Kara Connely returns to WCT this year as a Laker Girl. Richard Vaughan, a veteran of many WCT shows who teaches instruments at Hillview, will be playing cello in the live orchestra with about 14 other musicians.
This is Joe Murphy's first WCT show. The music teacher at Tierra Linda Middle School in San Carlos is appearing as Lancelot.
Woodside High students in the cast include Michael Sacco, Lourdes Arteaga, Hazel Griffin, and alum Samantha Ayoob.
Known for its ever-changing roster of amateur talent, WCT has put on musicals for decades, first at Woodside Elementary School and more recently at Woodside High Performing Arts Center, 199 Churchill Ave. in Woodside.
This year the nonprofit bought a set and had it shipped across the country. Once again the Patrick family of Woodside is busy customizing everything to fit onto the high school stage. Akio Patrick is technical director and set designer, his wife, Karen, is in charge of costumes. Brother Steve Patrick is the master builder and his wife, Tina, and Don Coluzzi of Portola Valley, who is also doing lights, repainted the castle that dominates the scenery.
Woodsiders Darrell Batchelder and Chuck Martin are on spotlight duty. Karen Peterson is back as house manager.
The same co-producing team is in place: Donna Losey, Mark Bowles, Liz Matchett and Darlene Batchelder.
The former music director at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Brett Strader, is vocal and musical director.
Choreographer Carrie J. Perna used to dance in New York and has brushed up on her tap dancing for this production.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturdays, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2; and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27, Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3.
For tickets go to tinyurl.com/spamtiks. They range from $20 to $42 and might be available at the door, depending on demand.
More information is available on Facebook and @woodsidecommunitytheatre instagram.