Our Current 2016-2017 Season:

Our Current 2016-2017 Season:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Renaissance Man Jim Snideman is Spamalot’s Royal Inventor

Jim Snideman (far right) as Sir Bedevere, explaining his prototype Trojan Rabbit

Jim Snideman is a Renaissance Man. Not only does he have many years of experience as a Michigan Renaissance Festival actor, Jim is also a jack-of-all-trades and a self-proclaimed “inventor/tinkerer.”  Jim brings his comedy toolkit to create several crazy characters in Monty Python’s Spamalot, and he employs his tinkerer talents both onstage and off at the Farmington Players Barn Theater.

In Spamalot, Jim’s primary role is Sir Bedevere, who is “The Royal Inventor”.  Bedevere is the brains behind the knights’ secret weapon, the Trojan Rabbit.  As Jim says, “I am the ‘inventor/tinkerer/actor’ playing the part of the ‘inventor/tinkerer.’”  (Behind the scenes, Jim developed a removable head for one of the knights to wear when she gets “decapitated.”)   Jim’s model for Bedevere comes from his Ren Fest days: a character called Leonardo K’tel de Popiel, who was coincidentally known as “The Royal Inventor.”  As Jim says, “I needed to construct devices that could be made of (somewhat) period technology.  I towed a cylindrical grindstone on a string about the shire as a pet called ‘Nozetew’. A slingshotish Y-shaped stick and a strap of leather became a ‘Frog Strangler’.  A leftover bathroom tissue core became the show closing ‘Der Der Tube’.  (Place it to your lips and shout “DER-DER-DER…DER-DERRRRR!”).”   Jim aptly describes Spamalot as “essentially a Ren Fest show, without the dust and blotto audience members.”

Jim’s secondary roles in Spamalot include Mother Galahad, who he calls “a delightfully crusty old crone who revives another of my Ren Fest characters, Lady Uglita OhDyumme” and Concorde, the faithful and trusty companion / horse of Sir Lancelot.  While Jim finds Spamalot’s choreography challenging (“I played offensive line in high school. No fancy footwork. Just move directly forward and bulldoze ‘em out of the way”), he has taken up the dancing gauntlet with grace and good humor.  Jim knows that Monty Python fans will enjoy Spamalot as a silly “wooden rabbit era escape from the realities of 21st century life.  Dedicated Python fans will be quoting lines from the many references, singing along, nudge-nudging, wink-winking and saying no more.”

Jim lives in Commerce Township and his offstage interests include “tinkering with scale models, a love of all things scientific, and theatre and film production, from both sides of the stage/camera."

Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 28 – May 21.  The show is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Not Dead Yet, Lively Tom Arwady Masters Multiple Roles in Spamalot

Tom Arwady (right) leads a band of minstrels serenading not-so-brave Sir Robin
[PHOTO by David Reinke]
In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the movie upon which Spamalot is based, the six members of the Python troupe each played about six roles!  So when Eric Idle wrote Spamalot, it is not surprising that the male leads each play multiple parts.  As director of the Farmington Players production of Spamalot, I also tried to cast comedic actors who had the versatility to play many roles. 

One such actor is Tom Arwady, a community theater chameleon who easily adapts to his surroundings.  Tom has performed or directed at eight local community theaters, now counting the Barn.  But Tom is no “gypsy” – a term for actors who bounce between theaters without ever lifting a hand to help backstage.  In fact, upon being cast in Spamalot, Tom jumped right in to help with props, and even recruited his mother Janie Arwady to help sew costumes!

Tom describes his four Spamalot characters as follows:  (1) Not Dead Fred:  is “an elderly peasant with mud and shit all over him who lives in Plague Village.  Lancelot tries to put him on the dead cart, but he's full of pep and piss and vinegar; and is not dead yet!”  (2) French Guard is “the French Taunter's pompous buddy who also enjoys insulting the British.  He is known for his extremely rude hand gestures.”  (3) Head Minstrel to Sir Robin:  “He is silly and happy.  Probably likes to do community theatre. When he composes ballads about Robin, he either likes to insult him for his cowardice, OR is innocently trying to compliment Robin and is oblivious with how the lyrics are coming across.” and (4)  Prince Herbert:  “Herbert is a sensitive, sheltered young gay lad whose father is King of Swamp Castle.  He is intimidated by his bullying father who gives him no love or support. Herbert loves to sing about his emotions, but his father suppresses his talent and makes him lose his confidence.”

Tom knows these characters intimately because this is the third time he has been in Spamalot, and the second time playing these exact roles.  Tom says, “I enjoy making them four distinct personalities with different voices and mannerisms.  But mostly, I like making the audience laugh.  The challenges in playing these roles are the very high tenor notes Herbert has to sing, the athletic dancing for Fred, and balancing the grail on my hat for the dance as the Minstrel.”

Like many cast members, Tom is a big Monty Python fan, but he thinks Spamalot “is still very funny and entertaining even if you don't know Python movies or the TV show.  It skewers musical theatre conventions, ethnic stereotypes, organized religions, politics, class struggles, and gender roles.  It has hilarious word play and puns, double entendre, and lots of plain old silly nonsense!”

Tom lives in Harrison Township and has been an elementary school teacher for 20 years.  He currently teaches 4th grade at Grosse Pointe Public Schools.  In addition to community theatre, he enjoys pub trivia, karaoke, reading, hiking, traveling, and swing dancing.  Tom says, “I've enjoyed getting to know the rest of the talented cast and creative, dedicated production staff and crew.  I'm proud to be a new member at Farmington Players and hope to return next season!”


Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 28 – May 21.  The show is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Noble Woman, Michelle Makes Her Mark As the Black Knight

NONE SHALL PASS!  Michelle Noble stands her ground as the Black Knight
PHOTO by Tony Targan
The Black Knight is one of the most iconic figures in Monty Python’s SPAMALOT and the Holy Grail movie upon which it is based. The Black Knight is brave, tenacious, and stubborn to a fault, maintaining his invincibility despite mounting evidence to the contrary.  Although a man traditionally plays the Black Knight, Michelle Noble has assumed the role in the Farmington Players production of Spamalot, and she couldn’t be better suited to the part. Michelle is an eternal optimist, and her enthusiasm and versatility as an actor makes her a valued cast member.  In fact, Michelle plays three traditionally male roles – the Black Knight, Sir Bors, and Kevin the carter – plus a French chef, a Finlander, and a bridesmaid as an ensemble member.

Michelle says, “my favorite thing about my characters are being dismembered (multiple times), and getting to toss Tom Arwady (Not Dead Fred) over my shoulder like a sack of flour. The whole thing is a lot of fun.”  Michelle wanted to be in Spamalot “because I love Monty Python. I grew up watching Flying Circus and the Holy Grail is one of my favorite movies. Also, I love acting. Especially in musicals. It was my favorite part of high school and helped me make a lot of friends and have more confidence in myself.”  Michelle credits high school marching band and theatre in preparing her well:  “I was lucky to be able to be part of a performing arts program like the one at Walled Lake Central high school. We strived for professionalism and we put on great shows.”  Michelle has played male roles before, and her willingness to try any part at auditions and rehearsals has helped to expand her involvement in the show. 

Michelle knows that people will “love this show because it's hilarious. It truly embodies the spirit of Python, while also poking a lot of fun at musical theatre in general. There are a lot of nods to the original material and a lot of theatre jokes. It's a beautiful balance.” Michelle was born and raised in West Bloomfield. She has an associate degree in culinary arts from Schoolcraft College and is currently working on her bachelors degree.  Her hobbies include video games, reading, baking, jewelry making, and swimming.


Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 28 – May 21.  The show is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

As Spamalot’s Arthur, Kirk Krekeler Knows “It’s Good to be the King”

Kirk Krekeler as King Arthur (in gold) and his knights warm themselves by the fire.
PHOTO by Jim Kelly
Monty Python’s brand of humor is known for taking a silly concept to its absurd extreme.  The Pythons also have a healthy disrespect for authority and they love taking authority figures down a notch or two.  So it comes as no surprise that King Arthur, the protagonist in Monty Python’s Spamalot, is the ultimate straight man.  Even though he is king, his constituents are able to run logic circles around him when discussing politics or the air-speed velocity of swallows.  Poor Arthur is easily flummoxed and is not very good at mathematics, or even counting to three.

In the Farmington Players production of Spamalot, Kirk Krekeler plays King Arthur.  As Kirk explains, “King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table encounter insane people in his quest to find the Holy Grail. Of course, the fact that Arthur rides an invisible horse doesn’t make him exactly normal.”  Kirk models his character after the late Graham Chapman, who played a befuddled Arthur in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, on which Spamalot is based. Kirk says, “I’ve seen the movie a million times and liked the way Graham Chapman played it. I think one of the reasons the movie is so good is that Graham Chapman is convincing as Arthur, so the film has an ‘anchor’ that makes the humor happening around him even funnier.” 

As a huge Python fan, Kirk enjoys that “I get to be part of just about every famous scene from the movie on which the musical is based. One of the challenges I have as King Arthur is not laughing when the Knights and I meet up with different characters,” such as the French Taunter, the Knights of Ni, and Tim the Enchanter … all played by Jason Dilly, a master of outrageous accents. Kirk knows that not only will Python fans appreciate the sheer silliness, including “the references to the TV show and to the film, but Spamalot also adds a new dimension with its satire on musical theater, which Broadway fans will love.”  

This is Kirk’s first show with Farmington Players and he is “very impressed with the talent of my fellow actors and directorial team.”  Kirk lives in Livonia with his wife Sue and dog Daisy. He works as an Instructional Designer with the automotive companies. He and his wife have been in many shows together over the past 30 years and have played opposite each other in Music Man (Harold Hill, Marian the Librarian), The King and I (King of Siam, Anna), and Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour, Audrey).

Monty Python’s SPAMALOT has 12 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 28 – May 21.  The show is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Management.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

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