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by MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & Hormel Is Happy & r & & r & Best of Broadway theatergoers will be eating "ham and jam, and Spam a lot" when the Monty Python musical drops into the INB Center for eight performances. You'll have to wait 15 months, however: King Arthur won't use the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch against the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog until May 2009.

Earlier next season -- and just six weeks before the presidential election -- the Capitol Steps will spoof D's and R's in their annual visit (Sept. 20).

For three weeks this October, chandeliers will rise and crash as a girl in a wedding dress is torn between hunky Raoul and disfigured Erik in The Phantom of the Opera.

When Oprah builds a musical about sisterhood, Africa and abusive husbands, audiences will come. The Color Purple (Dec. 10-14) reunites Nettie and Celie, but only after time and geography intervene.

The sun will come up tomorrow -- but for one night only -- when Annie returns next Jan. 31.

The joint will be jumpin' when American Idol's Ruben Studdard sings "The Jitterbug Waltz" and other Fats Waller tunes in the 30th anniversary tour of Ain't Misbehavin' (March 19-22, 2009).

Defending the Caveman, Rob Becker's 1991 solo performance about relationships, shows for two nights at the Bing next March, right when Studdard's in town. While walking around a "faux Flintstone" set, Becker jokes about feminists, erogenous zones and the different ways that men and women use the remote control.


Wrote What He Knows

Journalist Richard Manning has written seven books on sprawl and sustainability -- and he lives in Lolo, Montana, in a log cabin that he and his wife built -- so he knows the green whereof he speaks. (Check out his Feb. 2004 Harper's article, "The Oil We Eat: Following the food chain back to Iraq.") Manning will appear at SCC's Library, Bldg. 16, twice on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 10:30 am and at 7 pm. Call 533-8048.

"Contested Ground"

The MAC's new exhibit opens this weekend with paintings, sculptures, videos and installations depicting the Pacific Northwest. Attend an opening-day roundtable discussion with four of the show's six artists this Saturday at 6 pm (with reception following at 7 pm). Visit

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