Actor Tom Hewitt Tackles King Arthur and Dismemberment on Stage in Spamalot

Actor Tom Hewitt is getting his first chance to play King Arthur and he's doing it in Spamalot coming soon to the Hobby Center courtesy of Theatre Under the Stars.

Hewitt (Billy Flynn in Chicago on Broadway) has been a Monty Python fan since his youth, which is standing him in good stead now that he's signed on to Spamalot, a musical that evolved from the movie classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

"There are so many people who are Monty Python fans, basically all you have to do is show up and say those lines," Hewitt says. "It also makes fun of show business and Broadway and I think that's just so charming."

Flashback: Check out our Spamalot slideshow at St. Arnold's and our recipes for cooking Spam if that helps put you in the mood.

Caught during a break in their fast-paced rehearsal schedule, Hewitt said that the cast is having a hard time keeping straight faces, stressing that even if you've never seen a Monty Python routine, you're going to laugh at this show.

"It's almost physically painful to try not to laugh. It's just so ridiculous. In fact we were discussing today, 'How are we going to do this?'"

Hewitt says he's studied other versions of the show. "I'm pretty out about stealing stuff. I will watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I will steal things from the movie. I will listen to Tim Curry (the original King Arthur) on the cast album. I have no shame in saying that."

The highpoint for him: "I have to dismember an actor on stage the famous Black Knight scene; he loses his arms and legs." Asked if he'd ever imagined himself doing such a thing, he responded: "No, not and actually being paid for it."

Spamalot runs May 14-26 at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-558-8887 or visit tuts.com. $24 to $109.

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