A group of seniors who have been together for four years in Camden Hills musicals and theater are ready to put on a great show, as “Spamalot” comes to the Strom Auditorium in November.

The live musical is a theatrical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with added scenes that parody and pay tribute to well-known Broadway shows. The Camden Hills show includes a big cast of freshman, sophomores and juniors, all excited to be on the stage.

Performances are Nov. 5, 6, 12 and 13 at 7 p.m., with a family show Nov. 10 at 6 p.m.

“Basically everything in the show is a joke and people will be laughing a lot,” said “Spamalot” student producer Oliver Worner. There’s also some audience participation that is really fun, he said.

Last fall, there was no high school musical in the fall due to the pandemic, and a spring musical was staged outdoors. Worner and the other seniors are grateful the musical is back in the Strom this year.

“We’ll maintain what people expect – a restart of the same amazing shows the high school has been doing for years,” he said.

As student producer he is in charge of helping with scheduling, taking attendance and answering questions students may have at rehearsals. There’s a lot to keep track of with rehearsals four days a week, some for the full cast and others for  groups or certain characters, and lots of extra rehearsals.

He has to make sure “we’re staying on task on the cast side,” and on the tech side making sure sets and props are “staying on track.”

Worner was also student producer during the pandemic for the outdoor musical, “The Theory of Relativity.” His work behind the scenes started at Camden-Rockport Middle School, where he did sound for “Little Mermaid” in sixth grade. The next year he moved to lighting and has stayed with it ever since.

As a freshman, he trained for the big job of learning the professional grade lighting system at the Strom, as understudy to the senior lighting designer during “Anything Goes.”

By sophomore year, Worner was in charge of lighting for “Mary Poppins,” “responsible for designing the whole thing.” He’s proud of the big rooftop chimney sweep dance scene, where he used a haze machine that generates a thin mist to create special effects. He also loves a smaller scene where Mrs. Banks is lit by two spotlights while singing a ‘reprise’ that ends on a beautiful note, followed by a blackout.

Worner is also doing a reprise, as lighting designer for “Spamalot.”

Four of the seniors in “Spamalot” have done a lot of singing, dancing and acting together at Camden Hills — from the big-stage fall musical productions “Mary Poppins” and “Anything Goes,” to One Act plays for the Maine Drama Festival competition, spring plays, and more.

Joshua Kohlstrom plays King Arthur, in his first lead role. Not only is this something he has wanted to do since he was a freshman, but he’s “been granted the privilege to sing and dance with the most fabulous cast of people.”

One scene he’s enjoying working on is with Sir Galahad, played by Leo Feldman.

Rehearsing with Feldman, Kohlstrom sees how the back and forth wordplay, very apparent in Monty Python, comes together. “Someone delivers a line and then there’s a quick response, followed by a quick response and another and it all blends to together in a hilarious way.”

Feldman “is a hilarious actor,” he said. “We run through the lines to get this timing down, and it is brilliant and so funny.”

Kohlstrom played the bank manager in “Mary Poppins,” a show he describes as fantastic. In ensemble numbers he wore a bright blue suit in the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious scene and learned to dance for the high energy chimney sweep number.

During that show, he learned about how theater sometimes works, when Director Kim Murphy decided more singers were needed for a scene where the nursery toys come to life. As he tells it, Murphy pulled him and other students aside, and told them they were going to learn a new part. “So we did and sung it that night and for every other performance,” he said.

Like the others seniors, Kohlstrom has performed in “Anything Goes,” “You & Mia,” “A Matter of Heritage,” and “The Theory of Relativity.”

Audrey Leavitt plays the Lady of the Lake, who she describes as “out there” and “very diva-like.” Because the character “is nothing like she is in real life, it’s a bit of a challenge but a fun challenge.”

Leavitt loves to sing ballads, which is what she’s been known for since she’s been in high school. She started singing around third grade, and hasn’t stopped since.

In “Spamalot” she sings songs in multiple genres, all with an element of humor. In character with her role as a diva, one of her songs is a lament about being off the stage for too long. She also has a back up group of singing cheerleaders — the Lakers.

She played the bird woman in the high school’s 2019 musical, “Mary Poppins,” singing one of most beautiful songs in the show. In 2020, she was in “The Theory of Relativity,” a musical performed outdoors due to the pandemic.

She sings with the high school’s female acapella group Fortissima, and has participated in the All State Festival since sophomore year. As a freshman, coming to Camden Hills in 2018 from the St. George school system, her role in the ensemble in “Anything Goes” was her first experience in a musical.

Isabella Kinney, left, and Alice Moskovitz, right, have been in many performances together, including as ancestors in ‘A Matter of Heritage,’ pictured here. Photo by Marti Stone

For Alice Moskovitz, “Spamalot” is her fourth musical, and one of eight shows she has appeared in at Camden Hills. She plays Brother Maynard, and a variety of roles, including one of the dead people on a cart who, near the beginning of the show, get up and sing a song.

This is the second time she has played a dead person in a high school show. She, Isabella Kinney and Kohlstrom were featured as a group of ancestors in caskets in the opening scene of “A Matter of Heritage,” a student-written one-act play and regional winner of the Maine Drama Festival competition in 2020.

Moskovitz loves theater and musicals. “It’s where I get my creative energy out after a day of school.”

“After doing stressful things all day such as school and homework, my favorite way of re-charging is by doing something creative, and my favorite form of creativity is theatre.”

She was Katie Nana in “Mary Poppins,” and in musical ensembles including Jolly Holiday and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. “They were all very fun to do especially with my friends from theater.” Other favorite stage experiences include “Anything Goes,” and the student-written One Act play, “You & Mia.” “That was my first lead, so it holds a special place in my heart,” she said.

Isabella “Izzy” Kinney plays a number of parts in “Spamalot” — she’s a Laker in the cheerleading backup group for Lady of the Lake, a featured dancer and a Finland villager

She’s also Concord – one of the horses of King Arthur’s knights.

“That part’s really fun because I have lines and get shot by an arrow,” she said. Being a featured dancer is also a lot of fun, including “learning cool dance techniques.”

Being part of all the full cast singing and dancing scenes in “Mary Poppins” “blew me away,” Kinney said. Step in Time with the chimney sweeps was the best, with actors flying, having to learn all the songs and dance while you’re singing, she said. She had a featured role as Zophia, a dead ancestor in “A Matter of Heritage.”

The Covid-19 pandemic did not stop Kinney from taking part in three shows, “A Christmas Carol” performed over Zoom, where students found their own costumes and did their parts from their homes. Kinney, who was the narrator as well, was happy the show “had 70 viewers and it turned out really well.”

In Spring 2020, she was in the play “My Client Curley” performed on stage in masks made by students with help from the art department, and had the featured role of Jenny in “Theory of Relativity,” a sold-out musical performed outdoors.

Kinney, Kohlstrom, Leavitt, Moskovitz and Worner have not only shared many experiences over their four years on stage and behind the scenes, they have learned a lot about themselves and others.

Worner who plans to study film and television production in college, taking the same skills he’s been practicing at Camden Hills to TV, has learned from Murphy “how to manage a team of creative people and when to sort of control that creativity in a way that will make the production more successful.”

From all the students in the casts in these shows, Kinney has learned “we’re all different, but when we’re on stage we’re all part of one bigger person — to make the show the best it can be.”

“I think this is important for life in general – the two of you, or no matter how many you are, can work together and be a cohesive group, no matter what your differences are,” she said.

Gaining confidence is also a theme.

“The sense of community is amazing and very judgment free. I feel like everyone feels comfortable being themselves,” Moskovitz said. She has gained a lot of confidence in herself, from her experience from theatre as well as what she has learned from her directors. “It taught me to be loud and speak my mind,” she said.

Leavitt was shy when she first came to CHRHS. “I didn’t express myself much, but since I’ve been involved with music and theater productions at school I have really begun to grow as both a performer and a person,” she said. “Mrs. Murphy and Gretchen [Henderson] have really helped me to come out of my shell and perform to the best of my ability.”

Kohlstrom had struggled with the  idea that he wasn’t great on stage as a singer or actor. Last year, and then coming into this year he was able to find a new level of confidence he didn’t know he had.

“I can attribute a lot of it to the people I’ve been working with. After so many years in musical theater I’ve developed a lot of incredible friends I’m so lucky to have,” he said. “Having them there to share the experience is wonderful and helps with my confidence and furthering myself and being the best actor I can be.”

He also developed an appreciation for what the tech crew does. Leading up to the outdoor musical during the pandemic, he watched “all these talented painters and designers building these huge set pieces” and he realized the importance of the behind the scenes work,  and the tech crew who make this possible.

The pandemic also caused him to worry about “where theater and music is going to go in the future.”

Seeing the talented group of freshman in “Spamalot,” who he describes as phenomenal actors, singers and dancers, who are incredibly passionate, have so much fun working, and enjoyable to be around, “has eased my worried heart,” he said. “Now I can confidently say these juniors, sophomores, and freshmen are going to carry our theater program to new heights.”