In Part 2 of a series of interviews with the cast of The Port Tobacco Players’ Spamalot, meet Ryan Dolan.
Tell our readers where they may have seen you on local stages.
I’ve performed all around the country and in town as a singer in the U.S. Air Force band at The Kennedy Center, the Music Center at Strathmore, and on national and local TV. Due to a busy and unpredictable schedule, my theater credits are limited to the last three summer musicals at PTP (previously, The Who’s Tommy and The Music Man).
Tell us about the characters you play and how you relate to them.
I play Dennis/Sir Galahad, and Herbert’s father. Dennis is decidedly anti-privilege and anti-authoritarian, which resonates with me. The show takes place in a time where hierarchy was a given, so it’s a hoot when Dennis launches into an egalitarian tirade directed at Arthur, who by all rights is Dennis’ King. Super natural events intervene, and Dennis is converted to Sir Galahad, a knight of the round table. Sir Galahad is quickly inculcated into the system, and turns into a priggish snob.
What has been the most fun playing them?
Working on, and playing with comedic timing has presented challenges, but I’ve truly enjoyed it.
What has been some of the challenges you have had preparing for your roles?
Dancing, and learning the role of Herbert’s father.
Tell us about your big numbers and what you learn about your character during the song?
“The Song that Goes Like This” (sung as Sir Galahad & the Lady of the Lake) is a song that is constantly making fun of itself, and the lengthy Broadway love duet as a convention. The lyrics don’t give much insight about the character of Galahad, but it is the first time the audience sees post conversion Galahad in all his knightly splendor. It also demonstrates how decidedly self-indulgent he is.
What is your favorite song in the show that someone else sings and why?
“His Name is Lancelot” is my favorite. Like many songs in the show, it is a parody, and I love its high energy disco feel. It’s also the point in the show where I am done with big dance numbers and tricky line sequences, so I can relax and enjoy things more.
What have you learned about yourself the actor while performing your roles in Spamalot?
I can allow the material to be funny for me without getting in the way.
What do you admire most about your fellow castmembers?
I enjoy their comedic timing, and improvisation when it’s called for.
Why do you think Spamalot is still so popular?
It’s a Monty Python-based musical, and Monty Python is eternal.
Which costume in the show is your favorite and why?
The Lady of the Lake costumes are all great. I can’t pick just one.
What do you want audiences to take with them after watching you perform in Spamalot?
I want them to be ecstatic due to the high energy of the cast and laughter that ensues. Then, they should tell all of their friends to come see the show!
Meet the Cast of ‘Spamalot’ at The Port Tobacco Players: Part 1: Jimmy Payne.