Spamalot

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Monty Python's Spamalot
Spamalot.jpg
Original Broadway Windowcard
MusicJohn Du Prez
Eric Idle
Neil Innes
LyricsEric Idle
BookEric Idle
Basis1975 Monty Python film
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Productions2004 Chicago (preview)
2005 Broadway
2006 West End
2007 Australia
2008 North American tour
2008 Barcelona
2009 Madrid
2009 North American tour,
2010 UK Tour
2010 Poland
2011 Mexico
2011 Ireland
2011 Netherlands
2011 Sweden
2012 Norway
2012 West End (revival)
AwardsTony Award for Best Musical
Drama Desk Outstanding Musical
Drama Desk for Outstanding Lyrics
 
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Monty Python's Spamalot
Spamalot.jpg
Original Broadway Windowcard
MusicJohn Du Prez
Eric Idle
Neil Innes
LyricsEric Idle
BookEric Idle
Basis1975 Monty Python film
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Productions2004 Chicago (preview)
2005 Broadway
2006 West End
2007 Australia
2008 North American tour
2008 Barcelona
2009 Madrid
2009 North American tour,
2010 UK Tour
2010 Poland
2011 Mexico
2011 Ireland
2011 Netherlands
2011 Sweden
2012 Norway
2012 West End (revival)
AwardsTony Award for Best Musical
Drama Desk Outstanding Musical
Drama Desk for Outstanding Lyrics

Monty Python's Spamalot is a musical comedy "lovingly ripped off from" the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Like the film, it is a highly irreverent parody of the Arthurian Legend, but it differs from the film in many ways, especially in its parodies of Broadway theatre. Eric Idle, a member of the Monty Python team, wrote the musical's book and lyrics and collaborated with John Du Prez on most of the music.

Idle explained the title in a February 2004 press release:[citation needed]

I like the title Spamalot a lot. We tested it with audiences on my recent US tour and they liked it as much as I did, which is gratifying. After all, they are the ones who will be paying Broadway prices to see the show. It comes from a line in the movie which goes: "we eat ham, and jam and Spam a lot."

The original 2005 Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols, won three Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004–2005 season and received 14 Tony Award nominations. During its initial run of over 1,500 performances it was seen by more than two million people and grossed over $175 million.[1]

Contents

Synopsis

Before the play

A recording encourages members of the audience to "let your cellphones and pagers ring willy-nilly," and comments that they should "be aware there are heavily armed knights on stage that may drag you on stage and impale you." This was recorded by John Cleese.[citation needed]

Act I

A historian gives a brief overview of medieval England. In an apparent (and deliberate) miscommunication between the actors and the narrator, an idyllic Scandinavian village appears, with gaily dressed Finnish villagers singing and dancing to the "Fisch Schlapping Song." The Historian returns, irritated, and tells the frolicking Finns that he was talking about England, not Finland. The villagers disperse and the pastoral forest is immediately replaced by a dreary, dark village with penitent monks in hooded robes chanting Latin prayers and hitting themselves in the face with large Bibles. King Arthur travels the land with his servant Patsy, who follows him around banging two coconut shells together to make the sound of a horse's hooves as Arthur "rides" before him, trying to recruit Knights of the Round Table to join him in Camelot ("King Arthur's Song"). He encounters a pair of sentries who are more interested in debating whether two swallows could successfully carry a coconut than in listening to the king.

Sir Robin, a collector of plague victims, and Lance, a large, handsome and incredibly violent man, meet as Lance attempts to dispose of the sickly Not Dead Fred ("He Is Not Dead Yet"). They agree to become Knights of the Round Table together, Lance for the fighting, and Robin for the singing and the dancing.

Arthur attempts to convince a peasant named Dennis Galahad that he, Arthur, is king of England because the Lady of the Lake gave him Excalibur, the sword given only to the man fit to rule England. However, Dennis and his mother, Mrs Galahad, are political radicals and deny that any king who has not been elected by the people has any legitimate right to rule over them. To settle the issue, Arthur has the Lady of the Lake and her Laker Girls appear to turn Dennis into a knight ("Come With Me"). Cheered on by the girls ("Laker Girls Cheer"), the Lady of the Lake turns Dennis into Sir Galahad and together, they sing a generic Broadway love song ("The Song That Goes Like This"), complete with chandelier. They are joined by Sir Robin and Sir Lancelot, and together with Sir Bedevere and "the aptly named" Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Show (a knight resembling Don Quixote, who promptly apologizes and leaves), they make up the Knights of the Round Table ("All for One").

The five knights gather in Camelot, a deliberately anachronistic place resembling Las Vegas's Camelot-inspired Excalibur resort, complete with showgirls, oversized dice and the Lady of the Lake headlining the Castle in full Cher get-up ("Knights of the Round Table"/"The Song That Goes Like This (Reprise)"). In the midst of their revelry, they are contacted by God (a recording voiced by John Cleese of the original Monty Python troupe and Eric Idle in the version currently touring the UK) who tells them to locate the Holy Grail. Urged on by the Lady of the Lake ("Find Your Grail"), the Knights set off. They travel throughout the land until they reach a castle, only to be viciously taunted by lewd French soldiers. They attempt to retaliate by sending them a large wooden rabbit in the style of the Trojan Horse; however, they realize after the fact that it was not as simple as leaving the rabbit and walking away — they should have hidden inside it. Defeated, they leave in a hurry when the French begin taunting them again, sending cancan dancers after them and throwing barnyard animals including cows at them ("Run Away!").

Act II

Sir Robin and his minstrels follow King Arthur and Patsy into a "dark and very expensive forest", where they are separated. King Arthur meets the terrifying but silly Knights who say Ni, who demand a shrubbery. King Arthur despairs of finding one, but Patsy cheers him up ("Always Look on the Bright Side of Life") and they find a shrubbery shortly after.

Sir Robin, after wandering the forest for some time with his minstrels ("Brave Sir Robin"), encounters The Black Knight, who scares him off, but King Arthur, who happens on the scene, more or less defeats him by cutting off both his arms and legs, impaling his still-alive torso on a door, and leaving to give the Knights their shrubbery. The Knights accept it, but next demand that King Arthur put on a musical and bring it to Broadway (in the United Kingdom, this became a West End musical; on the tour, they must put on a "Broadway musical", implying that it need only be Broadway-style, "but not an Andrew Lloyd Webber". The mere mention of his name causes everyone to cover their ears and scream in pain. Sir Robin, who has found Arthur by this point, insists that it would be impossible for them to accomplish this next task, since you need Jews for a successful Broadway (or West End) musical ("You Won't Succeed on Broadway"), and proves his point in a wild production number filled with Fiddler on the Roof parodies, including a bottle dance like the one in Fiddler on the Roof, with Grails instead of bottles. King Arthur and Patsy promptly set off in search of Jews.

While the Lady of the Lake laments her lack of stage time ("Diva's Lament - Whatever Happened to My Part?"), Sir Lancelot receives a letter from what he assumes is a young damsel in distress. He is very surprised to find that the "damsel" is actually an embarrassingly effeminate young man named Prince Herbert ("Where Are You?"/"Here Are You") whose overbearing, music-hating father, the King of Swamp Castle, is forcing him into an arranged marriage. As Herbert is asking Lancelot to help him escape, the King of Swamp Castle cuts the rope that he is using to climb out of the window, and Herbert falls to his death. Lancelot is a bit puzzled at the king's actions, but it is revealed that Herbert was saved at the last minute by Lancelot's sidekick, Concord. The King asks his son how he was saved, exactly, to which Herbert replies happily with a song. But the king charges at his son with a spear, preparing to kill him. Lancelot steps in to save him, then gives a tearful, heartfelt speech about sensitivity to the king on Herbert's behalf, and Lancelot is outed as a homosexual in the process, an announcement celebrated in a wild disco number ("His Name is Lancelot").

King Arthur begins to give up hope of ever putting on the Broadway musical and laments that he is alone, even though Patsy has been with him the entire time ("I'm All Alone"). The Lady of the Lake appears and tells Arthur that he and the Knights have been in a Broadway musical all along. Patsy also reveals he is half Jewish, but didn't want to say anything to Arthur because "that's not really the sort of thing you say to a heavily armed Christian." All that's left is for King Arthur to find the Grail and marry someone. After picking up on some not-too-subtle hints, Arthur decides to marry the Lady of the Lake after he finds the Grail ("Twice In Every Show").

Reunited with his Knights, Arthur meets Tim the Enchanter who warns them of the danger of an evil rabbit. When the rabbit bites a knight's head off, Arthur uses the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch against it, knocking down a nearby hill and revealing that the "evil rabbit" was actually a puppet controlled by a surprised puppeteer. A large stone block showing a combination of letters and numbers is also revealed. (The letters vary from show to show, but in the Broadway production and on the tour it is either A101, B101, C101 or D101. In the West End Production a word is revealed - DONE, CONE or BONE, referring to D1, C1 and B1 respectively.) After pondering the final clue, Arthur admits that they're "a bit stumped with the clue thing" and asks God to "give them a hand". A large hand points to the audience and Arthur realizes that the letters and numbers refer to a seat number in the audience. The grail is "found" (with some sleight of hand) under the seat and the person sitting in the seat is rewarded with a small trophy and a polaroid photo. ("The Holy Grail"). Arthur marries the Lady of the Lake, who reveals that her name is Guinevere; Lancelot marries Herbert (who finally has a chance to sing); and Sir Robin decides to pursue a career in musical theatre ("Act 2 Finale/Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Company Bow)").

The duration of the show is about two hours plus interval time.

Musical numbers

Eric Idle wrote the musical's book and lyrics and collaborated with John Du Prez on the music, except for "Knights of the Round Table" and "Brave Sir Robin", which were composed by Neil Innes for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. ("Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" was originally written by Idle for the film Monty Python's Life of Brian.)

Act I
  • Tuning**
  • Overture
  • "Historian's Introduction to Act I" – Historian
  • "Finland" / "Fisch Schlapping Dance" – Mayor and Company
  • "Monk's Chant" – Company
  • "King Arthur's Song" – King Arthur, Patsy*
  • "I Am Not Dead Yet" – Not Dead Fred, Lance, Robin, and Bodies
  • "Come With Me" – King Arthur, Lady of the Lake, and Laker girls
  • "Laker Girls Cheer" – Laker Girls
  • "The Song That Goes Like This" – Sir Galahad and Lady of the Lake
  • "All for One" – King Arthur, Patsy, Sir Robin, Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad and Sir Bedevere
  • "Knights of the Round Table" – Company
  • "The Song That Goes Like This" (Reprise) – Lady of the Lake
  • "Find Your Grail" – Lady of the Lake and Company
  • "Run Away!" – Company
  • The Intermission**
Act II
  • "Historian's Introduction to Act II" – Historian
  • "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" – Patsy, King Arthur, Knights, and Knights of Ni
  • "Brave Sir Robin" – Sir Robin and Minstrels
  • "You Won't Succeed On Broadway" – Sir Robin and Ensemble
  • "The Diva's Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part?)" – Lady of the Lake
  • "Where Are You?" – Prince Herbert
  • "Here Are You" – Prince Herbert
  • "His Name is Lancelot" – Sir Lancelot, Prince Herbert, and Ensemble
  • "I'm All Alone" – King Arthur, Patsy, and Knights
  • "Twice in Every Show" – Lady of the Lake and King Arthur
  • "The Holy Grail" – King Arthur, Patsy, Sir Robin, Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad, Sir Bedevere, and Knights*
  • "Act II Finale" – Company
  • "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" – Company and Audience

*Does not appear on the Original cast album.

**On the cast album but not in the show itself.

Characters

The Court of Camelot

  • King Arthur of Britain
  • Sir Lancelot the Homicidally Brave
  • Sir Robin, the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot
  • Sir Dennis Galahad, The Dashingly Handsome
  • Sir Bedevere, The Strangely Flatulent
  • Patsy: King Arthur's trusty servant/steed and constant companion.
  • Concorde: Lancelot's trusty servant/steed.
  • Brother Maynard: Camelot's clergyman
  • Sir Bors
  • Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Show: Dressed as Don Quixote.

Other characters

  • The Lady of the Lake
  • Not Dead Fred
  • Robin's Lead Minstrel
  • The King of Swamp Castle (aka Herbert's Father)
  • Prince Herbert
  • French Taunter
  • The Black Knight: A psychotic, "invincible" knight who will insist on fighting even after all his limbs have been cut off.
  • The Head Knight who says "Ni!": The very tall leader of the most feared cult in the land: the dreaded Knights who say Ni.
  • Tim the Enchanter
  • Mrs. Galahad
  • The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog
  • Swamp Castle Guards
  • Two Sentries
  • Historian: the Narrator.
  • The Laker Girls: The Lady of the Lake's backup dancers/cheerleaders.
  • Knights of the Round Table
  • Robin’s Minstrels
  • God
  • Holder of the Holy Grail: Whoever happens to be sitting in a certain seat at that performance.

In tribute to the film, where six actors played the majority of the male parts (and a few female ones), several actors play multiple roles; the only major characters not doubling are Arthur and the Lady of the Lake. In the Broadway production, the following doubling is used:

Sara Ramirez was intended to double as a witch but this part was cut from the final script.[citation needed] Several pairs of characters originally played by the same Monty Python member were reduced to one: the Dead Collector and Sir Robin (Idle), the Large Man with a Dead Body and Sir Lancelot (Cleese), and Dennis the Politically-Active Peasant and Sir Galahad (Michael Palin).

Production history

Chicago

Previews of the show began in Chicago's Shubert Theatre (now the Bank of America Theatre) on 21 December 2004; the show officially opened there on 9 January 2005.

Two musical numbers were dropped from Act One while the production was still in Chicago.[citation needed] During the scene set in the "Witch Village", the torch song "Burn Her!" was originally performed by Sir Bedevere, The Witch, Sir Robin, Lance and Villagers. At the French Castle, "The Cow Song", in a parody of a stereotypical film noir/cabaret style, was performed by The Cow and French Citizens. Before the two songs were cut in Chicago, the lead vocals in both songs were sung by Sara Ramirez. This gave her six songs in Act One, but no further appearances until scene five in Act Two, for "The Diva's Lament".

Broadway

The musical previewed on Broadway, at New York's Shubert Theatre, beginning 14 February 2005, and, after some changes, officially opened on 17 March 2005. Mike Nichols directed, and Casey Nicholaw choreographed. The production won the Tony Award for Best Musical and was nominated for 14 Tony Awards. The show played its final performance on 11 January 2009 after 35 previews and 1,574 performances; it was seen by more than two million people and grossed over $175 million, recouping its initial production costs in under six months.[1]

The original Broadway cast included Tim Curry as King Arthur, Michael McGrath as Patsy, David Hyde Pierce as Sir Robin, Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot and other roles (e.g., the French Taunter, Knight of Ni, and Tim the Enchanter), Christopher Sieber as Sir Galahad and other roles (e.g., the Black Knight and Prince Herbert's Father), and Sara Ramirez as the Lady of the Lake. It also included Christian Borle as Prince Herbert and other roles (e.g., the Historian and Not Dead Fred), Steve Rosen as Sir Bedevere and other roles (e.g., Concorde and Dennis's Mother) and John Cleese as the (recorded) Voice of God.

Notable cast replacements included:

US Tour

First National tour (2006–2009)
Spamalot's North American tour took it to Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre in May 2006.

A North American tour commenced in spring 2006, and the cast included Michael Siberry as King Arthur, Jeff Dumas as Patsy/Mayor/Guard, David Turner as Robin/Guard/Brother Maynard, Rick Holmes as Lancelot/French Taunter/Knight of Ni/Tim The Enchanter, Bradley Dean as Galahad/Black Knight/Herbert's Father, Tom Deckman as The Historian/Not Dead Fred/French Guard/Minstrel/Prince Herbert, Christopher Gurr as Sir Bedevere/Dennis's Mother/Concorde, and Pia Glenn (who remains slated for productions as late as June 2008)[2] as the Lady of the Lake. Deckman moved to the Broadway production in November 2006 and was replaced by Christopher Sutton.

The tour won three 2007 Touring Broadway Awards, including Best New Musical.

This same tour returned to Chicago on 20 January 2009 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, this time with Richard Chamberlain as King Arthur.[3][4] This production costs $419,099.53 in artist fees/royalties for 8 performances in a venue in Florida.[5]

The Tour continued through the summer 2009, with dates at the Golden Gate Theatre San Francisco, the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, the Canon Theatre in Toronto, the San Diego Civic Theatre in San Diego, the Tucson Music Hall in Tucson, and played its final performances at the Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa[6] where it closed on 18 October 2009.

Second National tour (2010)

A Second North American tour launched on 24 September 2010 from Waterbury, CT and ended 26 June 2011 in Dallas, TX.[7] Leading the tour was a non-equity cast, however it used the same sets and costumes as the First National tour. The cast included Steve McCoy as King Arthur, Caroline Bowman as the Lady of the Lake, Adam Grabau as Lancelot, Jacob L. Smith as Galahad, Matt Ban as Sir Bedevere/Dennis's Mother, Glenn Giron as Patsy, Martin Glyer as Robin, Thomas DeMarcus as The Historian, and John Garry as Not Dead Fred/Prince Herbert. Other cast members include Stephen Cerf, Jennifer Cordiner, Carl Draper, William Harrell, Melissa Denise Lopez, Shaun Patrick Moe, Linda Neel, Jeffrey Shankle, Keleen Snowgren, Tara Sweeney, Michael Warrell, Jessica Wockenfuss, Matthew Alexander, and Jenny Holahan. The tour restarted later that year and ran through 2012.

Third National tour (2013)

A third North American tour is scheduled to begin in 2013.[8]

West End and UK tour

Spamalot showing at the Palace Theatre in October 2008.

A London production opened at the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End, commencing 30 September 2006 (London première 17 October) with tickets on sale booking to November 2008. Curry reprised his Broadway role as King Arthur until December, with Beale taking over from January. Sieber also reprised his role as Sir Galahad before leaving in early 2007, replaced by Graham McDuff. Hannah Waddingham was cast as the Lady of the Lake, Tom Goodman-Hill as Sir Lancelot, Robert Hands as Sir Robin, David Birell as Patsy, Tony Timberlake as Sir Bedevere and Darren Southworth as Prince Herbert. Notable cast replacements have included Peter Davison and Bill Ward in 2007 and, briefly, Marin Mazzie, in early 2008.[9] Sanjeev Bhaskar took over from Alan Dale as the last King Arthur (23 June 2008 onwards). The London production closed on 3 January 2009.

A UK tour scheduled for later in 2009 was initially postponed, the producers commenting "Due to unforeseen circumstances the UK Tour of Spamalot will not be taking place as scheduled in 2009",[10] but eventually started at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 29 May - 5 June 2010 and Nottingham Theatre Royal on 7–12 June 2010.[11] The tour is scheduled to run until June 2011 at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. The production travelled to Trieste's Politeama Rossetti marking on 24 May 2011 the official opening of the show in Italy.[12]

Phill Jupitus[13] plays King Arthur in the current UK tour. Todd Carty plays Patsy, assistant to King Arthur for the duration of the tour.[14] He is due to finish the tour after performing at Wycombe Swan theatre. Marcus Brigstocke will be making his musical theatre debut as King Arthur for a limited engagement. When the show returned to the West End for seven weeks, Jon Culshaw filled in as King Arthur for three of the weeks, with Brigstocke performing on the other weeks. Jodie Prenger, Hayley Tamaddon, and Amy Nuttall share the role of The Lady of the Lake. The tour also features Simon Lipkin as Sir Galahad, Graham McDuff as Sir Lancelot, David Lingham as Prince Herbert, Samuel Holmes as Sir Robin, and Robin Armstrong as Sir Bedevere.[15][16][17]

The UK tour also features for the first time a re-working of the song "You won't succeed on Broadway" which has been renamed "You won't succeed in showbiz". The theme of the song has been changed from poking fun at the need for Jewish input into Broadway productions and instead mocks the cross over of celebrities in musicals and reality television competitions such as the X Factor. It notably pokes fun at reality TV celebrities including Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Susan Boyle (who is shot by Sir Robin when she begins to sing).[18]

UK Casts:[19]

RoleOriginal West EndFinal West EndUK Tour
King ArthurTim CurrySanjeev BhaskarMarcus Brigstocke
Phill Jupitus
Lady of the LakeHannah WaddinghamNina SöderquistJodie Prenger
Bonnie Langford
PatsyDavid BirrelAndrew SpillettTodd Carty
Sir LancelotTom Goodman-HillJake NightingaleGraham MacDuff
Sir GalahadChristopher SieberMichael XavierSimon Lipkin
Sir RobinRobert HandsRoss DawesSamuel Holmes
Sir BedevereTony TimberlakeAdam StaffordRobin Armstrong
Prince HerbertDarren SouthworthGerard CareyDavid Langham

Las Vegas

A production of the musical began Las Vegas, Nevada previewed on 8 March 2007 and opened on 31 March 2007 at the Wynn Las Vegas in the newly renamed Grail Theater (formerly the Broadway Theater, which housed a production of Avenue Q), with an extended balcony to allow for more seating, and a redesigned interior. As with other Las Vegas transfers of Broadway musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera, Spamalot was condensed to run in ninety minutes without an intermission. Among the cuts were the song "All For One", most of the song "Run Away", the Knights of Ni receiving their shrubbery, and the "Make sure he doesn't leave" scene with Prince Herbert's guards.[20]

Actor John O'Hurley starred as King Arthur.[21] Due to the Las Vegas production, the North American touring company would not perform in California, Arizona, or Nevada.[22] In addition to O'Hurley, the cast included Nikki Crawford as Lady of the Lake, Edward Staudenmayer as Galahad, J Anthony Crane as Lancelot, Justin Brill as Patsy, and Harry Bouvy as Robin, with Reva Rice as the standby Lady of the Lake.

Although initially contracted to run for up to ten years[22] its final performance was on 18 July 2008. The Las Vegas production closed to make way for Danny Gans' move from The Mirage casino hotel; the theater was renamed the Encore Theater and integrated into the newer Encore Las Vegas resort.[23] Danny Gans died [24] unexpectedly on 1 May 2009.

Australia

A new Australian production started in Melbourne in November 2007 at Her Majesty's Theatre, with the official premiere on 1 December. The cast featured Bille Brown as King Arthur and Lucinda Shaw as the Lady of the Lake, Ben Lewis as Sir Galahad, Stephen Hall as Sir Lancelot, Derek Metzger as Patsy, Jason Langley as Sir Robin and Mark Conaghan as Prince Herbert, with Christina O'Neill as the standby Lady of the Lake.[25]

The Australian production closed on 5 April 2008, due to lack of ticket sales and no tour followed.

The Australian non-professional premiere season of Spamalot was presented by Phoenix Ensemble at the Pavilion Theatre in Beenleigh and the Logan Entertainment Centre from 20 March to 25 April 2009 for 16 performances. This production won several awards at the Gold Coast Theatre Awards including Best Musical Direction (Casey Chadwick and Ben Murray), Best Set Design (Tracey and Luke Hutley, Doug McClean) and Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Tash McKoy). It was also nominated for Best Costumes (Glynis Aubrey) and Best Choreography (Scott Hollingsworth).

The Gold Coast premiere season of Spamalot opened at the Spotlight Theatre, Benowa on 24 July 2009 for a four week run. The Sydney premiere of Spamalot was held on 9 October 2009 by The Regals Musical Society.[26]

In Adelaide, a new production of Spamalot opened on 12 March 2010 at the Shedley Theatre.[27]

The Brisbane premiere of Spamalot opened 23 April 2010 at the Schonell Theatre. It was also the inaugural production of Queensland's latest new theatre company 'Blue Fish Theatrical Productions.' Spamalot featured a cast of Brisbane performers - Gary Rose as King Arthur, Bradley McCaw as Patsy, Tony Campbell as Sir Robin, Chris Kellett as Sir Lancelot, Lionel Theunissen as Sir Galahad, Steve Norris as Sir Bedevere (also played by Jason Lawson in a special guest appearance), Tye Shepherd as Finland Mayor/Not Dead Fred/Prince Herbet/Robin's Minstrel and Brother Maynard and Ruth Bridgstock as the Lady of the Lake.

The Canberra premiere was in May 2010 at the ANU Arts Centre by SUPA Productions. Max Gambale as King Arthur, Louisa Bloomfield and the Lady of the Lake, Will Huang as Patsy, Joseph McGrail-Bateup as Sir Robin, Patrick J Gallagher as Mrs Galahad, Dave Smith as Galahad and Michael Jordan as Lancelot. Director - Ron Dowd

The show had its Tasmanian premiere in October 2010 at the Theatre Royal, Hobart produced by the Tasmanian Theatre Unit Trust.

The Empire Theatre in Toowoomba, Australia's largest regional theatre, presented Spamalot in October 2010.

Spamalot was presented in Perth in November 2010, by Playlovers in Hackett Hall, Floreat.

New Zealand

The New Zealand premiere was staged at the Globe Theatre Palmerston North for a four week season in November/December 2009. Hillcrest High School in Hamilton, did the second performance of Spamalot in March 2010 whilst the South Island premiere was performed by Bayfield High School at The Mayfair Theatre, Dunedin on 19–22 May 2010.

Spain

The first translated production, in Spanish, opened at Teatre Victoria, Barcelona on 9 September 2008 and closed on 10 May 2009. Directed by Catalan Comedy Group Tricicle and choreographed by Francesc Abós, the cast included Jordi Bosch as King Arthur, Marta Ribera as the Lady of the Lake, Sergi Albert as Sir Galahad (later replaced by Edu Soto), Fernando Gil as Sir Lancelot, Julián Fontalvo as Patsy, Xavi Duch as Sir Robin, Josep M. Gimeno as Sir Bedevere and Jesús García as Prince Herbert, with Sara Pérez as the standby Lady of the Lake. The Original Barcelona Cast Recording was released on December 2008.

On 10 September 2009 [28] the production was transferred to Teatro Lope de Vega, Madrid with some changes in the cast: Dulcinea Juárez as the Lady of the Lake, Ignasi Vidal as Sir Galahad, Víctor Ullate Roche as Sir Robin and Lorena Calero as the standby Lady of the Lake. The show finally closed on 28 February 2010, after more than 450 performances.

Germany

A German production premiered in January 2009 at the Musical Dome in Cologne.[29] The last performance was held on 13 September 2009 at the venue.

Hungary

The Hungarian production has started on September 2009 at the Madách Theatre in Budapest. Further information

Sweden

The Swedish production opened on the Malmö Nöjesteater in Malmö on 24 September 2010, and moved to Oscarsteatern in Stockholm one year later and opened on 15 September 2011 where it played through 29 April 2012.

Nina Söderquist, who starred as the last Lady of the Lake in the West End production was thought to reprise her role in the Swedish production, but when she became pregnant she was replaced by Anki Albertsson. However, Söderquist returned to the show when it moved to Stockholm in fall 2011.

The show parodied both The Phantom of the Opera and Singin' in the Rain through scenography and choreography. Both shows ran earlier at the same theatre to critical acclaim.

The show was performed in Swedish with translation by Adde Malmberg, who played Sir Lancelot in the show in both Malmö and Stockholm. Kim Sulocki, who played Patsy in the Swedish show will reprise his role in Norwegian in Oslo 2012.

RoleOriginal Malmö castStockholm cast
King ArthurJohan WesterHenrik Dorsin
Lady of the LakeAnki AlbertssonNina Söderquist
PatsyKim Sulocki
Sir LancelotAdde Malmberg
Sir GalahadRobert Rydberg
Sir RobinJohan Glans
Sir BedevereAnders JanssonHenrik Hjelt
Prince HerbertMattias Linderoth

Belgium

The Belgian production will be directed by Belgian actor and director Stany Crets.[30]

Czech Republic

The premiere of Czech production took place 6 March 2010 in the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen. The play achieved a great success. It is a completely translated version directed by Roman Meluzín.[31]

France

The French production has started on 5 February 2010 at the Comedia Theatre in Paris and is directed by French actor Pierre-François Martin-Laval.[32]

Poland

Since 25 September 2010 "Spamalot" is played at the music theatre in Gdynia, Poland, directed by Maciej Korwin. The première took place on 2 October 2010.

Canada

18–21 November 2010, Mecca Productions of Brandon, Manitoba staged their production of Spamalot. This marks the first time a non-professional company has performed the show in Canada. The production stars James Comrie as King Arthur, Lisa Vasconcelos as The Lady of the Lake, Chris Isaak as Sir Dennis Galahad, Bob Brereton as Patsy, Dylan Woodcock as Sir Robin, Brody Harms as Sir Lancelot, and John Szabo as Sir Bedevere.

Spamalot will be produced in Calgary by Front Row Centre Players as part of their 2012-13 season: shows are January 11-26 at the Pumphouse Theatres.

Spamalot is being produced by the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta as part of their 2012-2013 season. It runs 20 April – 19 May 2013

The 2013 Lawyer Show in Vancouver, BC, in combination with Touchstone Theatre and Carousel Theatre will be Spamalot. The show will run 1-4 May 2013 at Waterfront Theatre.[33]

Ireland

In May 2011, the show played at the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin.

Italy

In May 2011, the original UK touring production played at Politeama Rossetti in Trieste. Eric Idle attended the opening night on 24 May.

Netherlands

In April 2011 a Dutch touring version opened, starring comedians Paul Groot and Owen Schumacher. The entire cast also appeared in character on Dutch TV in a Python/Spamalot tribute: "Help, mijn man is ridder!" (Help! My husband is a knight!).

Japan

The Japanese version played at two theaters in January and February 2012. The musical ran from 9 to 22 January 2012, at the Akasaka Blitz theater in Tokyo. It then played at the Morinomiya Piloti Hall in Osaka from 2 February to February to 6 February. The musical stars Yusuke Santamaria as King Arthur, Mao Ayabuki as The Lady of The Lake, Narushi Ikeda as Sir Lancelot, Shigeyuki Totsugi as Sir Robin, Kento Kaku as Sir Dennis Galahad, Sarutoki Minagawa as Sir Bedevere, and Magy as Patsy.[34]

South Korea

The South Korean production played from 1 October to 28 December 2010, with Yesung of Super Junior and Park In-bae rotating as Sir Robin, the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot.[35]

Norway

A Norwegian production premiered in 20 September 2012 at Folketeatret in Oslo and runs through November 2012.

RoleCast
King ArthurAtle Antonsen
Lady of the LakeReidun Sæther
PatsyKim Sulocki
Sir LancelotTrond Espen Seim
Sir GalahadHåvard Bakke
Sir RobinAnders Baasmo Christiansen
Sir BedevereEspen Beranek Holm
Prince HerbertTrond Fausa Aurvåg

Reactions by Monty Python members

"I'm making them money, and the ungrateful bastards never thank me. Who gave them a million dollars each for 'Spamalot'?"

—Eric Idle[36]

The show has had mixed reactions from Idle's former colleagues in Monty Python.

Terry Gilliam, in an audio interview,[37] describes it as "Python-lite". He later told the BBC News, "It helps with the pension fund, and it helps keep Python alive. As much as we'd like to pull the plug on the whole thing it carries on - it's got a life of its own." [38]

Terry Jones - who co-directed the original film with Gilliam - expressed his opinions forthrightly in May 2005: "Spamalot is utterly pointless. It's full of air…Regurgitating Python is not high on my list of priorities."[39] However, when asked whether he liked Spamalot during an interview with Dennis Daniel on 98.5 WBON-FM "The BONE" on Long Island shortly after the musical's opening on Broadway, Jones said, "Well, I thought it was terrific good fun. It’s great to see the audience loving it. I suppose I had reservations as far as…well…the idea of doing scenes from a film on stage. I just don’t get the point of it. They do them terribly well…I mean, they really are good…but I just quite don’t understand what that’s about. It isn’t really 'Python.' It is very much Eric." Jones went on to say, "...I think the best parts of the musical are the new things. For instance, when they do the Andrew Lloyd Webber take-off and this girl comes in and sings 'Whatever Happened To My Part' since she hasn’t appeared since the opening number and she’s really furious! That is one of the great moments where the show really comes alive for me."[40]

In an Oct. 2006 interview, Michael Palin said, "We’re all hugely delighted that Spamalot is doing so well. Because we’re all beneficiaries! It’s a great show. It’s not ‘Python’ as we would have written it. But then, none of us would get together and write a ‘Python’ stage show. Eric eventually ran out of patience and said, ‘Well, I’ll do it myself then.’ He sent us bits and songs and all that and we said, ‘Yeah, that’s all right, have a go.’ But its success is so enormous that it took us all by surprise, including Eric, and now we’re just proud to be associated with it, rather pathetically." [41]

When asked by a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter in 2008 if he had to be persuaded to provide the recorded voice of God in the musical, John Cleese said, "Yeah, that’s right. And in the end I think Spamalot turned out splendidly. It’s had a tremendous run. I defy anyone to go and not have a really fun evening. It’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen and I think Eric did a great job." [42]

Critical reception and box-office

The original production has been both a financial and critical success. Variety reported advance ticket sales of $18 million, with ticket prices ranging from $36 to $179. The advance made Broadway box office history.[citation needed]

The show proved to be an early success when moving to London's West End. After high advance ticket sales the show's run was extended by four weeks, four months before the run commenced.[43] The play makes many references to the film and other material in the Python canon, including a line from "The Lumberjack Song", nods to "Ministry of Silly Walks", the "Election Night Special" and "Dead Parrot Sketch" routines, a bar from "Spam" worked into "Knights of the Round Table", a rendition of the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from the film Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979), and the "Fisch Schlapping Song" which is a reference to both "The Fish-Slapping Dance" and the song "Finland". Another reference is actually part of the Playbill of the show; there are several gag pages about a musical entitled "Dik Od Triaanenen Fol (Finns Ain't What They Used To Be)". This gag programme was written by Palin, and echoes the faux-Swedish subtitles in the credits of the original Grail Python film.

Broadway musical fans appreciate its references to other musicals and musical theatre in general, such as: "The Song That Goes Like This" (a spoof of Andrew Lloyd Webber productions and many other Broadway power ballads); the knights doing a dance reminiscent of Fiddler on the Roof, and another reminiscent of West Side Story (including the music); Sir Lancelot's mimicking of Peter Allen in "His Name Is Lancelot"; the character of Sir Not Appearing in This Show being Man of La Mancha's Don Quixote; a member of the French "army" dressed as Eponine from Les Misérables; and a line pulled from "Another Hundred People" from Stephen Sondheim's Company by the "damsel" Herbert. The song "You Won't Succeed (On Broadway)" also parodies The Producers and Yentl.[citation needed]

The show has not escaped criticism. In Slate, Sam Anderson wrote, "Python was formed in reaction to exactly the kind of lazy comedy represented by Spamalot — what Michael Palin once described as the 'easy, catch-phrase reaction' the members had all been forced to pander in their previous writing jobs... Spamalot is the gaudy climax of a long, unfunny tradition of post-Python exploitation — books, actions figures, video games — that treats the old material as a series of slogans to be referenced without doing any of the work that made the lines so original in the first place."[44]

The West End version opened to two rave reviews. "It’s a wonderful night, and I fart in the general direction of anyone who says otherwise", wrote Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph (echoing a joke from the show).[45] According to Paul Taylor in the Independent, "it leaves you that high and weak with laughter, thanks not just to the Python provenance of the basic material but to the phenomenal speed, wit, cheek and showbiz knowingness of the direction, which is by the great veteran, Mike Nichols".[46] Michael Billington in the Guardian was less enthusiastic, though, stating "while I'm happy to see musicals spoofed, the show's New York origins are clearly exposed in a would-be outre number which announces "we won't succeed in show business if we don't have any Jews": a Broadway in-joke that has little purchase this side of the Atlantic." Billington adds, "With hand on heart, I'd much rather watch Lerner and Loewe's Camelot than Eric Idle's smart-arsed Spamalot."[47]

The Las Vegas production was awarded the Number 1 show of 2007 by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.[citation needed]

Coconut orchestra world record

On 22 March 2006, to mark the first anniversary of the official Broadway opening, the "World's Largest Coconut Orchestra", 1,789 people clapping together half coconut shells, performed in Shubert Alley, outside the theatre. The claim was officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. This record was broken by 5,567 people in Trafalgar Square at 7pm on 23 April 2007, led by the cast from the London production, along with Jones and Gilliam, with the coconuts used in place of the whistles in "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". This formed part of London's St George's Day celebrations that year and was followed by a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.[48]

Other

A sign at the Shubert Theatre advertising the show's Best Musical award.

In 2006, the London cast of Spamalot performed excerpts at the Royal Variety Performance.

On 10 March 2007, Spamalot partnered with HP Sauce (the classic British brown sauce, now made in the Netherlands following a contentious decision to close its factory in Britain) to produce 1,075 limited edition bottles featuring a unique Spamalot take on the classic HP design. The bottles were available exclusively via Selfridges, London and came in a presentation box with a numbered certificate. 1,075 was chosen to celebrate, absurdly, "1,075 years of the show running in London".

In July 2007 it was announced that the London production would solve the problem of replacing Hannah Waddingham as the Lady of the Lake through a TV talent show in Sweden. The programme, called West End Star, which began airing on TV3 on 8 December 2007, announced Nina Söderquist as the winner on 2 February 2008.

On 15 December 2007, the 10 finalists were announced. These were:

Söderquist took up the role of The Lady of the Lake, with a standing ovation, on 11 February 2008.[50]

DVD

Portions of the Spamalot original cast recording were featured (with accompanying Flash animation) as a special feature in the 2006 "Extraordinarily Deluxe Two-Disc Edition" DVD re-release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Awards and nominations

The awards led to a minor change to the song "The Diva's Lament". Initially, the line "I've no Grammy, no reward/I've no Tony Award" became "My Tony Award/won't keep me out of Betty Ford's". When Lauren Kennedy took over for Sara Ramirez, it became "My predecessor won awards/and now she's in Betty Ford's" but was later changed to, "All our Tony Awards/won't keep me out of Betty Ford's."[51] In the touring production, Pia Glenn sings "All our goddamn awards/won't keep me out of Betty Ford's." For a change, Hannah Waddingham in the London production sings "I'm as depressed as I can be/ I've got constant PMT".

The touring production has garnered Boston's Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Visiting Production.

Original Broadway production

YearAwardCategoryNomineeResult
2005Tony AwardBest MusicalWon
Best Book of a MusicalEric IdleNominated
Best Original ScoreJohn Du Prez and Eric IdleNominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a MusicalHank AzariaNominated
Tim CurryNominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a MusicalMichael McGrathNominated
Christopher SieberNominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a MusicalSara RamirezWon
Best Direction of a MusicalMike NicholsWon
Best ChoreographyCasey NicholawNominated
Best OrchestrationsLarry HochmanNominated
Best Scenic DesignTim HatleyNominated
Best Costume DesignNominated
Best Lighting DesignHugh VanstoneNominated
Drama Desk AwardOutstanding MusicalWon
Outstanding Book of a MusicalEric IdleNominated
Outstanding Actor in a MusicalHank AzariaNominated
David Hyde PierceNominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a MusicalChristian BorleNominated
Michael McGrathNominated
Outstanding Director of a MusicalMike NicholsNominated
Outstanding ChoreographyCasey NicholawNominated
Outstanding OrchestrationsLarry HochmanNominated
Outstanding LyricsEric IdleWon
Outstanding Set DesignTim HatleyNominated
Outstanding Costume DesignWon
2006Grammy AwardBest Musical Show AlbumWon

Original London production

YearAwardCategoryNomineeResult
2007Laurence Olivier AwardBest New MusicalNominated
Best Actor in a MusicalTim CurryNominated
Best Actress in a MusicalHannah WaddinghamNominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a MusicalTom Goodman-HillNominated
Best Set DesignTim HatleyNominated
Best Costume DesignNominated
Best Lighting DesignHugh VanstoneNominated

Television

A special edition of The South Bank Show was a television documentary on the history of Spamalot. It features numerous segments with Eric Idle and John Du Prez explaining the process of writing the songs, plus interviews with US and UK cast members. It included scenes from the rehearsal of the West End show, and first aired on 15 October 2006.

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b Gans, Andrew (21 November 2008). "Spamalot Will Now Close Jan. 11, 2009". Playbill. http://www.playbill.com/news/article/123622.html. Retrieved 25 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Colón, Brian S. (ed.), "Popejoy Presents Broadway in New Mexico: The 2007-2008 Season", Popejoy Hall, University of New Mexico, 2007; Albuquerque, New Mexico
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew."Chamberlain Will Be King in Spamalot Tour in 2009", playbill.com, 18 November 2008
  4. ^ tour information montypythonsspamalot.com. Retrieved 26 February 2009
  5. ^ Spitzer, Michelle (4 December 2009). "King Center eases concerns over losses". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1A. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20091204/NEWS01/912040324/King-Center-eases-concern-over-losses. 
  6. ^ Tour info
  7. ^ phoenix-ent.com
  8. ^ http://www.montypythonsspamalot.com/spamalot_tickets_info.php
  9. ^ Nina Söderquist Wins Swedish Reality TV Contest to Star in Spamalot, Broadway.com in London, 3 February 2008
  10. ^ mayflower.org.uk
  11. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Monty Python's Spamalot to Tour U.K. Starting in May; Jodie Prenger Stars" playbill.com, 15 March 2010
  12. ^ UK Tour Dates
  13. ^ spamalotontour.co.uk
  14. ^ spamalotontour.co.uk
  15. ^ Paddock, Terri (16 March 2010). "Jodie Prenger Joins Spamalot, Rhydian Has War". What's On Stage.com. http://www.whatsonstage.com/news/theatre/london/E8831268748681/Jodie+Prenger+Joins+Spamalot%2C+Rhydian+Has+War.html. Retrieved 21 March 2010. 
  16. ^ Paddock, Terri (29 March 2010). "Spamalot Crowns Brigstocke, Nicholas’ Pirate King". What's On Stage.com. http://www.whatsonstage.com/news/theatre/london/E8831269862115/Spamalot+Crowns+Brigstocke%2C+Nicholas%92+Pirate+King.html. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  17. ^ Spamalot UK Tour Cast
  18. ^ thepublicreviews.com
  19. ^ kenwright.com
  20. ^ "'Spamalot' brings Python double talk to the Strip". Las Vegas Review Journal. 31 March 2007. http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2007/Mar-31-Sat-2007/news/13502948.html. 
  21. ^ "Spamalot betting on shelf life". Las Vegas Review Journal. 23 January 2007. http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2007/Jan-23-Tue-2007/news/12136144.html. 
  22. ^ a b "Wynn Woos 'Spamalot' West". CBS. 25 July 2005. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/07/25/entertainment/main711398_page2.shtml. 
  23. ^ Richard Abowitz, Wynn's 'Spamalot' trade for Danny Gans greeted by collective yawn, LATimes.com, 18 April 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
  24. ^ PR Newswire, Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year Danny Gans Dies at 52, 1 May 2009
  25. ^ "Casting Announced for Australian Production of Spamalot". BroadwayWorld.com. http://www.broadwayworld.com/printcolumn.cfm?id=20370. Retrieved 13 October 2007. 
  26. ^ The Regals Musical Society, Sydney Spamalot Premiere, 11 May 2009.
  27. ^ Adelaide Theatre Guide, Monty Python's Spamalot, 18 March 2010.
  28. ^ "El Rey Arturo y su corte conquistan Madrid en el estreno de SPAMALOT - September 11, 2009". todomusicales.com. 11 September 2009. http://www.todomusicales.com/content/content/1467/el-rey-arturo-y-su-corte-conquistan-madrid-en-el-estreno-de-spamalot/. 
  29. ^ "Spamalot im Musical Dome" (in German). Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. 1 August 2008. http://www.ksta.de/html/artikel/1217541660953.shtml. Retrieved 1 August 2008. 
  30. ^ musicalsite.be
  31. ^ djkt-plzen.cz
  32. ^ Monty Python's Spamalot - Théâtre Comédia (in French), Artistik Rezo. 25 February 2010.
  33. ^ http://www.touchstonetheatre.com/the-lawyer-show/
  34. ^ "ミュージカル『モンティ・パイソンのスパマロット』 オフィシャルサイト". 5 February 2012. http://www.spamalot.jp/cast.html. 
  35. ^ "Super Junior's Yesung to star in third musical 'Spamalot'" 10Asia. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2012
  36. ^ "Monty Python's 40 years of silliness". CNN. 24 October 2009. http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/TV/10/24/monty.python.40/index.html. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  37. ^ Quickcast Interview with Terry Gilliam by Ken Plume
  38. ^ Smith, Neil (22 February 2006). "Battle-scarred Gilliam looks to future - Feb. 22, 2006". timeout.com. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4732374.stm. 
  39. ^ "Entertainment News - May 06, 2005". AbsoluteNow.com. 6 May 2005. http://www.absolutenow.com/news/20050506.html. 
  40. ^ "Lethally Funny Python". herecomethewilddogs.com[dead link]. http://www.herecomethewilddogs.com/jones.htm. 
  41. ^ "Michael Palin: Interview - Oct. 31, 2006". timeout.com. 31 October 2006. http://www.timeout.com/london/books/features/2202/3.html. 
  42. ^ "John Cleese Loves Spamalot... - May 5, 2008". timeout.com. 5 May 2008. http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/elfman/John_Cleese_Loves_Spamalot_Doesnt_Know_Its_Closing_Also_He_Declares_Its_Not_a_Fortune_to_be_God.html. 
  43. ^ "We love Spam a lot: Python musical extends run". Chortle: The UK Comedy Guide. 24 June 2006. http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2006/06/24/4276/we_love_spam_a_lot. Retrieved 13 October 2007. 
  44. ^ Anderson, Sam (21 June 2006). "And Now For Something Completely Deficient". Slate.com. http://www.slate.com/id/2121214/. 
  45. ^ Spencer, Charles (17 October 2006). "Truly, a knight to remember" (review). Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2006/10/17/btspam17.xml. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  46. ^ Taylor, Paul (17 October 2006). "First Night" (review). The Independent (London). http://arts.independent.co.uk/theatre/reviews/article1879460.ece. 
  47. ^ Billington, Michael (17 October 2006). "Spamalot" (review). Guardian Unlimited (London). http://arts.guardian.co.uk/reviews/story/0,,1924220,00.html. 
  48. ^ "Spamalot cast sets coconut record". BBC News. 23 April 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6586187.stm. 
  49. ^ Hey All You Swedes Out There, Vote for Nina in TV3's (SPAMALOT) West End Star!, UpTone News, 11 January 2008
  50. ^ Nina lysande i Spamalotsuccé, Expressen.se, 12 February 2008
  51. ^ playbill.com

Bibliography

External links