Spamalot, Singalot, Dancealot

Ben Radmore ’22 and Grace Thompson ’22 as King Arthur and Patsy.

Jessica Luo '24, Staff Writer

It’s not often you hear about a musical featuring show girls, cows, killer rabbits, and French people. Spamalot tells the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table on their quest to find the holy grail. Spamalot, the first production in the new John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Center for Theater and Dance, opens the new space on an undeniably positive note.
“We wanted to bring a little joy and light to our community here at Loomis [Chaffee]. Spamalot is a very fun show. It offers a lot of technical challenges for our acting students, and it’s a heavy tap show. There’s also some sword fighting, and … [the actors] had to learn different styles of singing given the variety of songs within this musical,” said Mr. David McCamish, the director of Spamalot.
Although many musical fans are familiar with Spamalot, others may wonder where the inspiration behind this comedic musical comes from.
“Spamalot is based on a [movie, by a] British comedy group called Monty Python, called Monty Python and the Holy Grail …Our actors are all hilarious but can also be very sweet and touching depending on the scene. It will be the sort of an extravaganza to open our new Nichols Center,” said Ms. Kate Loughlin, the choreographer for the show and a performing arts faculty.
Spamalot is categorized as a comedic musical but leaves viewers with a deeper message.
“It’s more of a satire, [and] there are some lines that are not just funny for the sake of being funny but rather are trying to prove a certain point through comedy,” said Nathan Ko ’23, an actor in Spamalot.
The behind-the-scenes of putting together a production is often mystified. From auditions to show-dates, this year’s actors managed to stay on top of their busy schedules and rehearse while the building was still under construction.
“We had three days of auditions, and once we got the cast list out, we started rehearsing and reading lines. We quickly rotated through spaces like Hubbard and the dance studio, trying to figure out choreography and music … We were constantly building energy at rehearsals, and … all the [technical] people who worked with us throughout the process really made us shine on stage,” said Natalie Poole ’25, an actor.
Along with an impressive production, the newly renovated Nichols Center allows for a broader range of technical feats as well as more creativity for the actors on stage.
“The first time actually stepping into the Nichols Center was amazing. We had the small space [in the former theater] for so long, then we had no space [during reconstruction], and actually being able to settle here is just such a wonderful opportunity,” said Benjamin Radmore ’22, an actor.
With the numerous difficulties that construction, spring break, and life has brought, the team of actors and technicians gained numerous learning experience in the process of putting together the musical.
“I think our main challenge this time has been time. We’re putting this on in a much shorter period of time than we usually would, so it’s been really hard trying to get everything made and polished and ready in time … everyone did a lot of individual work over the break. And as a group, we also try to keep spirits up because the more energy we have, the more energy we can put into the production,” said Chloe Pendergrass ’24.
In the midst of one of the busiest weeks before the show, an unexpected event occurred.
“Two days after I got back from spring break, I got sent home, and the lovely Sophia and Nandani had to take over for me. We were just starting rehearsals in the new building and getting ready for tech, but I was able to coach them through [the tech rehearsals]. I learned a lot about letting go and letting other people take control,” said Jasper Gitlitz ’22, the stage manager for the show.
Loomis theater productions often leave the audiences feeling a wide variety of emotions and impart a greater significance that many carry outside the theater and into their daily lives.
“The show was incredible, especially the heart and the passion all the actors showed … The moment that stood out was [when they sang] the song ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’ Whatever you’re going through, you should always look at the other perspective. As they said in the beginning, we should look at the positive [side], so I think the message out of the [show] was positivity,” said Vincy Midodzi, parent of Angela Adu-Boateng ’24, an actor.