Perf. Arts

'Spamalot' cast offers humor, dedication



By JODY MAYERS - Special to TimeOut

March 6, 2014


HARTLAND - Paul Weir, who plays King Arthur, leader of the Knights of the Round Table in the upcoming Lake Country Players production of “Spamalot,” said his role mirrors many things he’s been involved in throughout his life.

“While I never seek out leadership roles, if it’s within you, it usually seems to come out in anything you do,” he said.

Weir explained that he has worked his way up to leadership roles his whole life, from everything to becoming cub master of his son’s Cub Scouts to work projects and theater.

The upcoming production opens Friday at the Lake Country Playhouse and is based on “Monty Python’s Holy Grail” movie, and is a relatively new show, Weir said.

“Its Broadway debut wasn’t that long ago, and I believe (the) Lake Country Players is only the second group in southeastern Wisconsin to perform this show,” he said.

Weir said what makes the show unique is having it set in 932 A.D. England, but blending in modern-day references and topics.

“This show has English humor, which not everyone gets, or appreciates, but is overall just plain funny nonetheless,” he said. “Too often in getting friends and family to come and see it, I hear, ‘I don’t like that kind of humor.’ Well, again, it’s funny, well-written, well- acted, with great singing and choreography, and would be a shame to miss.”

Becky Schilling, director of the production, said auditions were started in early October in the hopes of getting a jump-start on discovering really talented people who know “Monty Python” and “Spamalot” and who were excited about the opportunity of performing in this production.  

“We went through several rounds of auditions, including vocal auditions with Catherine Pfeiler and dance auditions with our choreographer, Tammy Jung, over the course of the next few months and found a really great combination of talented actors who come from all different backgrounds and many of whom we had never worked with before,” she said.

Schilling said Weir, in particular, had already been hard at work memorizing his lines, and he attempted most of his first dialogue from memory.  

“I think this set the bar for the other primary characters in the show to get to work,” she said. “Paul (Weir) gets it. He does his research, studies what others have done, and works hard to nail it. If I ask something of him, he will try different approaches until he gets it right. He is also very vocally pleasing. He speaks and sings beautifully, clearly and loudly - very desirable characteristics in live theater.”

Weir, who lives and works in Oak Creek and commutes to the theater for rehearsals every night, said he did his first show 50 years ago when he performed “Peter and the Golden Goose” in his third- grade school play.

“After that I did a number of shows in high school, then took 35-years off for college, marriage and family,” he said. “I reconnected with a close high school friend from those days, back in 2007. She pushed and prodded me until I auditioned for a show at Sunset Playhouse in 2008. I’ve done 30 some shows since then in Milwaukee.”

Schilling said because the group is not professional actors - singers and dancers - a good majority of them have been working in live theater for many years and often have more experience than most actors you might see in Milwaukee.

“We also try to encourage people to get involved as actors, volunteers, helping with sewing, building sets or just handing out programs at the performances,” she said.

Weir said in the show biographies he always gives his love and thanks to his wife, Terry, for supporting him.  

“At times, I’ve done seven to eight shows a season,” he said. “That’s a lot of nights away from home, rehearsing or performing, and our nest is empty now, which leaves her alone a lot. Even though I’ve cut back to three shows a year, she still gives up a lot for me.”

At a glance

What: “Spamalot”

When: Friday through Sunday, March 14 through March 16, March 21through March 23, March 28 through March 30

Where: Lake Country Playhouse, 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland

Website: for show times and tickets

Phone: 367-4697