Spamalot comes to Pittsburg


Alvin Jackson, Staff Writer

An LMC faculty member, two students, and musicians will be performing in Monty Python’s “Spamalot” at the California Theatre in downtown Pittsburg from Sept. 28 to Oct. 7 with two showings in Antioch Oct. 13 and 14.

The successful broadway play is a silly adaptation of the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” However, bringing the easy-going play to the California Theatre did not come without difficulty according to director Dianna Schepers.

“The show was slated for last season but something came up. This has been in the making for about two years,”  Schepers said.

First Schepers had to face the board of the California Theatre. Though she herself is a member, her position did not guarantee that the show would be approved. The play had to make it past majority rule. In order to get the show to the California Theatre “it had to be pitched and put up for a board vote,” Schepers explained.

After the play was approved, it was all a matter of planning. As director of the play, Schepers has come across various issues such as scheduling and casting problems, both of which are not uncommon in the show business.

“In the beginning stages of the casting process, many cast members had to be dropped from roles due to scheduling conflicts,” Schepers said.

Despite these challenges, she has kept her excitement and is ready to release the show to the public so they can see what the California Theatre has been working on.

“Seeing the actors make the characters their own is the most rewarding part of being director,” Schepers said with a smile.

For Isabella Bishop, LMC student and ensemble member, “Spamalot” will be her big acting debut. Though she is nervous, she has enjoyed the creative process as well.

“When it’s all said and done, confidence is what I want to take away from the experience,” Bishop said. “I am a great performer, but I’m nervous and shy in person. I want to change that.”

What she also hopes to see as an LMC student and as a new face in the local arts community is more student actors getting exposure to creative opportunities.

“I did not know about this opportunity until my teacher told me. We need more advertising for acting and art opportunities on campus,” said Bishop.

The link LMC and the California Theatre is a partnership worth exploring and harnessing. Thanks to Dr. Luis Zuniga and Gregory Brown the partnership may open up more collaborations in the future.

Dr. Zuniga, LMC’s music director, is always interested in creating professional opportunities to his students and getting the connected with the creative community at large.

“It’s my first collaboration with the Pittsburg Theatre Company and I’m looking forward to work with the music community in Pittsburg,” Zuniga said. “It’s always fun to create ties with the community, where the college [and students are involved].”

Brown, “Spamalot” cast member and LMC English teacher said, “[The] California Theatre has always been interested in community performers.”

Historically, the big stage has not been a safe, welcoming space for all people. In fostering this collaboration between themselves, LMC and the California Theatre hope they change that.

“We need more diversity among our art community here in Pittsburg,” said Brown.

Those interested in seeing “Spamalot” should act fast and grab a few tickets while they are still available. Tickets are $20 to $25 and can be purchased on the California Theatre website or at the El Campanil Theatre box offices.