SPAMALOT: Rediscovering The Lady of The Lake with Christine Hewitt

[ 0 ] July 10, 2018 |

by tom andrew – 

David S. Humphrey, Christine Hewitt Photo by Ken Jacques Photography

This summer the Cygnet Theatre in Old Town will be presenting Monty Python’s hilarious spoof, Spamalot. The musical became a smash hit on Broadway in 2005, was nominated for 14 Tony Awards and won three, Best Director Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Postcards From The Edge), Best Actress in a Musical, Sara Ramirez (Greys Anatomy, Madam Secretary) and Best Musical.

Adapted from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the show is a parody of the legend of King Arthur. Writing credits for the film and musical go to Eric Idle, with the film’s other contributor list reading like a who’s who in the comedy world: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones.

Cygnet Theatre and Artistic Director Sean Murray are no strangers to the show. Spamalot was presented for two nights only last summer at Cygnet and Murray has now played the role of Arthur three times, once at Vista’s Moonlight Stage Productions, at the Cygnet reading last summer and he will reprise the role again for the full production at Cygnet this summer.

Playing the Lady of the Lake is Christine Hewitt, who like Murray, has done the show both at Moonlight and Cygnet. Hewitt admits that she’s learned quite a bit about the role since she debuted in the show.

“The first time I performed in Spamalot at Moonlight, it was like being shot out of a cannon! I kid… but the truth is I had taken a several years-long hiatus from performing and this was my first show back. I was grateful, delighted and petrified! Once the rehearsal process began, it was like riding a bike. The reading at Cygnet last summer was a wonderful revisit of material I had fallen in love with,” Hewitt said.

“The Cygnet Theatre is an intimate space that puts you almost within reach of the audience. Although the humor is silly, it requires incredible comedic timing. The most extraordinary difference between Moonlight and Cygnet was the intimacy between the cast and the audience,”Hewitt offered.

“Their reaction was palpable and a performer feeds off that energy. With a comic piece like Spamalot, audience participation gives the actor license to fully commit to the characters and the silliness that the piece requires.”

Evan White, David S. Humphrey, Sean Murray, Christine Hewitt, James Saba, Anthony Methvin Photo by Ken Jacques Photography

Hewitt has played comedic roles for most of her career so it is safe to say she’s right at home playing her current role.“Throughout my theatrical career, I’ve been cast in comic roles,” Hewitt shared.

“I enjoy making people laugh, it is incredibly satisfying and The Lady of the Lake is the quintessential female comic role. From the moment she walks on stage, her job is to make the audience laugh and she is given brilliant material with which to do so. Each of her songs tap into a different style of singing, from high soprano to stylized riffing to big Broadway style belting, which is what makes the role so appealing and so challenging…As an actor, you get to do it all.”

When Hewitt was asked what she thought the audience liked best about the show she barely hesitated with her response. It was as if there was no other answer.“Spamalot is funny…period,” Hewitt stated emphatically.“Even those who say they don’t like silly comedy or English style humor love this show. I have yet to meet someone who has seen the show and said it wasn’t their cup of tea. It is a crowd pleaser and has some great songs too and I’m lucky to be able to sing some of those songs. It is kind of a perfect show.”

Hewitt also feels there’s a bit of a political message in the show that makes it relevant for today’s world.“There is a gay component in the show,”Hewitt offered.“One of the characters aptly states, ‘It will still be controversial a 1,000 years from now and unfortunately, especially in today’s climate, it still is.”

Spamalot runs from Wednesday, June 27 through Sunday, August 12, at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town on 4040 Twiggs Street. LGBT Out Night is scheduled for Wednesday, July 11, at which you can enjoy a pre-show mixer before the performance. For tickets and more information, call 619.337.1525 or go to cygnettheatre.com.

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Category: San Diego, Theatre

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