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‘Spamalot’splendid

CNY Playhouse looks on the bright side of life with wacky musical

Bob Brown as King Arthur and Cathleen O’Brien Brown as the Lady of the Lake  top the cast of “Spamalot,” running through Sept. 21 at the CNY  Playhouse at ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt; cnyplayhouse.com.

Bob Brown as King Arthur and Cathleen O’Brien Brown as the Lady of the Lake top the cast of “Spamalot,” running through Sept. 21 at the CNY Playhouse at ShoppingTown Mall in DeWitt; cnyplayhouse.com. Amelia Beamish

— When Arthur holds a brief meeting with the Supreme Being, one of his underlings comments, “I didn’t know you could talk to God…”

“Well, I’ve been like a son to him for the past 30 years,” Brown deadpans. The actor’s best known locally for his perennial portrayal of Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Speaking of “Superstar,” Idle and his songwriter, John DuPrez, take several swipes at composer Andrew Lloyd Webber with histrionic tunes like “The Song that Goes Like This” and “The Diva’s Lament.”

Those songs may be jokes, but the singing is serious. O’Brien Brown draws on her extensive opera experience to imbue her numbers with both mirth and meaning. Of the 20-something songs in the show, O’Brien Brown sings just two, plus a reprise. Her voice is so pleasing, so controlled and focused, it’s too bad audiences don’t get to hear more from this scintillating singer.

But this is a crazy comedy, not a vocal recital, and the two most upbeat numbers emphasize the humor. As Not Dead Fred, Jon Wilson throws his whole body into “I’m Not Dead Yet,” while Simon Moody and Bob Brown tap dance delightedly on “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

Rounding out the primary cast are Steve Gamba, Alan Stillman, Trevor Hill and Jim Magnarelli. Ensemble member Dan Rowlands demonstrates his flair for comic characters in varied roles including French taunter, Ni Knight and Galahad’s mother.

Any way you look at it, CNY Playhouse has a hit on its hands because “Spamalot” tickets are selling swiftly. It’s about time to look on the bright side.

“Spamalot” continues at CNY Playhouse, near the Macy’s entrance at DeWitt’s ShoppingTown Mall, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 12, 13 and 14, 19, 20 and 21, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15. Tickets cost $20 Thursday and Sunday and $25 on Friday and Saturday, or $39.95 for 6:30 p.m. dinner and 8 p.m. show on Saturdays; 885-8960; cnyplayhouse.com.

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