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Up & Coming Weekly Celebrates the Best of the Best In Cumberland County PDF Print E-mail
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Written by JANICE BURTON   
Friday, 12 September 2014

uac091714001.gif In 1998, Up & Coming Weekly Publisher Bill Bowman came to his young editorial staff with a great idea.

“We are going to celebrate the best that this community has to offer,” he explained.

For those of us on staff, we were a little bewildered. We thought that was what we did every week. But Bill had a bigger plan, and over the next several weeks, planning for the first Best of Fayetteville Reader’s Poll went into overdrive.

To say that we were a little daunted is an understatement, particularly when Bill pulled out the original ballot. Compared to this year’s ballot, that one was pretty small; to us, it seemed mammoth. So we toiled for hours on end to produce that issue. Was it the best we have ever done? No, but it was a beginning.

Since that first issue, we have become more enamored with celebrating the people, organizations, locations and businesses that represent the best of the place we all call home.

I would like to say it has become a little less daunting, but that would be a lie. Remember, the ballot has grown exponentially, and the competition has become fierce. The number of ballots grows by leaps and bounds every year, and with last year’s addition of online voting, the growth has been even more phenomenal.

So while, we, as an editorial staff, have a sort of dread at this time of the year, it is overcome by our excitement. The Best of Fayetteville is truly an opportunity to recognize and recommend those people, places, organizations and businesses that make our community so unique. That makes the work worthwhile.

So enjoy this year’s edition. Peruse it. Save it.

Remember the folks who won and then pay them a visit. Let them know that you appreciate their commitment to making our community better. Let them know you saw it here. And keep your eyes open so you know who to vote for next year! Thanks for reading, thanks for voting and thanks for being part of what makes our community the best of the best.

Spamalot Brings Laughter to the Cape Fear Regional Theatre PDF Print E-mail
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Written by JANICE BURTON   
Monday, 08 September 2014

uac091014001.gif If the phrases, “I’m not dead yet,” “It’s a flesh wound” and “I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries,” leave you laughing and speaking in your worst English accent, then you are probably a pretty big fan of Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

That being the case, you are definitely going to buy a ticket to the upcoming show at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre: Spamlot.

Spamalot is a musical adaptation of the Holy Grail, which has left audiences in stitches all across the world. During the 2004-2005 Broad-way season, Spamalot had more than 1,500 performances during its initial run and was seen by more than 2 million people. The show garnered three Tony Awards, include Best Musical. All of which affirmed what Eric idle, one of the shows creator’s, said, “I like the title Spamlot, a lot. We tested it with audiences on my recent U.S. tour and they liked it as much as I did, which is gratifying. After all, they are the ones who will be paying Broadway prices to see the show. It comes from a line in the movie which goes: “We eat ham, we eat jam and Spam a lot.”

The outtake from the movie for the title, is really what the show is comprised of — some of the funniest bits from the movie. But in the case of Spamalot, the outtakes are brilliantly woven together to not only tell a story, but also to end in a big Broadway finish, one that CFRT Artistic Director Tom Quaintance will not only leave his audience laughing, but keep them coming back for more.

Quaintance recalls his first introduction to the show. “Someone gave me tickets to the show, and I went with-out any real expectations,” he recalled. “I just didn’t really think the show would be for me. I was wrong. I laughed so long and so hard. It really stuck with me because it is as broad as it can be. There’s great music, dancing and it is as funny as it can be.”

With that in mind, Quaintance, along with the season selection board at the CFRT, decided to bring it to the stage.

“This is a show that fits really well in this season and it fits really well with out community of actors,” said Quaintance. “In this show, all of the performers are regional, with all of them coming from within an hour of the Fayetteville. To bring a Tony Award play to stage with regional actors is something that we really want to do at the CFRT.

When adding the show to the season lineup, Quaintance also weighed it against the other shows in the line up. The next show coming to the stage is The Bluest Eye, which is a pretty intense show. Adding a huge musical comedy like Spamalot to the lineup rounds out the season nicely.

“This show is not heavy,” he said. “It is fun, fun, fun. There is something really important about bringing a community of people together to share a laugh.”

While the entire cast of Spamalot is exceptional in Quaintance’s opinion, King Arthur played by veteran CFRT actor Ken Griggs and The Lady of the Lake, played by Raleigh actor Lisa Jolley, will leave the audi-ence in stitches.

“Although these two have only worked together once before, they are a little like an old married couple, up on the stage” noted Quaintance. “They play very well off of each other.”

As Quaintance makes his point, the two break into a side conversation on who is the better dancer and Griggs laughingly makes fun of Jolley’s phobias.

“This show is curing all of my phobias,” confirmed Jolley. “I am afraid of heights, drops and movement. If they could add a roller coaster to the set I would be cured. This is good therapy for me.”

“I was 10-years-old when I saw my first Monty Python sketch,” said Griggs. We didn’t have cable and all that stuf, so I had to wait for public TV to show it. The Holy Grail is wonderfully, hilariously, unrelentingly funny. I memorized every of every scene of every sketch. The chance to do this show is awesome.”

For Jolley, the show is a bit of a change. “I’m not used to playing the girl,” she said. “I’m usually the old lady, the best friend, the table, the dog. So being the Lady of the Lake is a really different role for me. But I like it a lot.”

In Spamalot, the Lady of the Knight sends King Arthur on his quest to find the Lady Grail. Throughout the performance, she makes ap-pearances with her Laker Girls to keep the quest on its way.

And of course, big production numbers help keep the show moving.

“It seems like there is a cast of thousands, but there are really only 18 people in the cast,” added Quaintance. “There’s a really big finish over and over again.

“The hardest working people in the show are the ensemble,” he continued. “They have a 100 different parts and when they are not on stage, they are just off stage doing very quick costume changes.”

In the ensemble, you will also see some familiar faces. Of particular note are the Knights of the Round Table played by Jeremy Fiebig, Jacob Barton, Matt Lamb and Bill Saunders.

Griggs cautions that people shouldn’t come to the show expecting to see a remake of the movie.

“We aren’t doing the movie or the Broadway show,” he explained. “We are doing our version, and I think we are making some pretty smart choices.”

Previews for Spamalot are Thursday, Sept. 18 and Friday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the preview are $15. The show opens on Saturday, Sept. 20 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 12. All shows, with the exception of the Saturday and Sunday matinees start at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are at 2 p.m.

For tickets and information, visit the CFRT website at ww.cfrt.org or call 323-4233 to buy tickets..


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