Arts Beat: Lady of the House
Dee Roscioli's sendups of showbiz goddesses turn the "Spamalot'' silliness up a notch.
Dee Roscioli with Davis Gaines in "Spamlot"
Courtesy of Orlando Shakespeare Theater
There’s one thing Dee Roscioli discovered when she turned up to rehearse her part in Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s latest production.
When you're the Lady of the Lake, it's sink or swim.
The Pennsylvania-born actress may not spend a lot of time on stage in her role as a demi-goddess diva to a fumbling King Arthur in Spamalot, the Monty Python-inspired spoof that manages to mock both Broadway musicals and knights of old. In fact, her best number, “Whatever Happened to My Part?'' is a bratty backstage lament by her character, who doesn’t think she’s getting her share of the spotlight.
Roscioli certainly doesn’t do as much singing as she did for the part she’s best known for: that of Elphaba, the bad witch in Wicked, a role she played in Chicago, San Francisco, on Broadway and in various North American touring productions. But in Spamalot, when she’s on, she on. The part calls for her to do a multiple-personality send-up of every singing style and bigger-than-life belter that ever was, from Cher to Celine, from Liza Minnelli to Barbra Streisand. Yes, the bulk of the show is the boyish humor derived from restaging familiar Monty Python characters and skits, but one of the best parts of Spamalot is its spoof of show biz goddesses. And that’s all up to the Lady of the Lake.
“Compared to something like Elphaba, you are constantly changing your singing style, and to be honest, in the beginning it was quite an adjustment for me,” says Roscioli. “I start out as a soprano. The next time I’m a lounge singer. Then the next thing you know I’m singing gospel style.”
Coming down with a cold last week and missing several performances didn’t help, though Roscioli is both complimentary of and grateful to her understudy, University of Central Florida graduate Alyssa Yost, for filling in. But Roscioli is in the swim again: She’s healthy and back in the role for the rest of the run, which ends Oct. 11.
For tickets and more information, go to www.orlandoshakes.org/