“Step behind, step in front … five-six-seven-eight …”
Youthful cast members of the Lyric Theatre’s production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot Young@Heart” watched as 19-year-old choreographer Kenedi Deal snapped her fingers, twirled her arms and coached them through the dance steps of one of the show’s musical numbers.
“Always look on the bright side of life,” Deal sang in in a rich and powerful voice.
Deal, a 2017 graduate of Bangs High School, is a theatre major at Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi, where she will be a sophomore this fall.
“Spamalot” is a production of the Putter and Roxie Jarvis Kids Theatre Workshop. “Spamalot,” with cast members in grades 7-12, opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with additional performances at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
In a separate Kids Theatre workshop, children in grades 3-6 will perform in “Disney’s Sleeping Beauty” Aug. 3-5.
“Spamalot” reunites Deal with Billie Harvey, the play’s director and Bangs High School’s director of theatre and speech. As a high school student, Deal performed in numerous plays under Harvey’s direction.
“If you are a Monty Python fan you are going to love this show,” the Lyric Theatre’s website states. “This is a great family show.”
Deal said the show is a comedy about King Arthur and his round table of knights who are on a quest to find the holy grail.
“It’s definitely a comedy,” Deal said. “There are so many funny elements to it.”
“Spamalot” is her first play as a choreographer. “I love dance,” Deal said. “I take dance at Corpus. I decided it was something I wanted to try. It’s definitely hard to have to know the entire show — kids running up and asking questions about this dance move and this particular song, having to know exactly what they’re talking about.
“I love it. I was kind of nervous because it’s not something I’ve done before. I didn’t know if I’d be good at it but I absolutely love it.”
She said working as a choreographer has given her a new appreciation for the job Harvey has done as director of the Bangs High School theatre and speech department.
“Miss Harvey always put in so much work, and I know at times we didn’t give her credit for all the work that she did,” Deal said of her years at Bangs High School. “We didn’t … not care, but didn’t take it as seriously as maybe we should have, and now that the roles are reversed, I can see why she got frustrated.
“She’s a very patient woman. This show has definitely taught me some patience.”
Deal said the cast members are “fantastic. They are doing well.”
Thanks to Harvey, Deal said, said she came from a good high school program and was well prepared for college-level theatre. But there were adjustments, as she was one of the few students from a small school.
“I think I got comfortable here,” Deal said. “Everybody knew what I could do, and I had to start over. That was definitely a jump.”
Deal said she appeared in six plays as a college freshman, and people are starting to learn who she is. “I actually won best actress in our festival that we put on there,” Deal said.