"The producers of the new musical acknowledge that considerable changes in the original script have taken place during the rehearsal process dramatically affecting the roles that Douglas Sills was playing," read an official statement. "After extensive conversations between Douglas and the creative team, he has chosen to withdraw from the production."
The release went on to report that a Sills representative said "While Douglas' excitement about the production has not diminished, he feels it is artistically necessary and best for not only himself, but for the show as well, for him to depart in its early stages." A replacement cast member will be announced shortly.
Mike Nichols ("The Graduate," "Angels in America") will direct the musicalized stage version of the "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" set to have its world premiere at Chicago's Shubert Theatre, Dec. 21, 2004 through Jan. 23, 2005, before heading to Broadway. Previews will now begin at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre Feb. 14, 2005 towards an opening March 17, 2005. The self-proclaimed "lovingly ripped-off" stagework features a book by Eric Idle, based on the screenplay he co-wrote with Monty Python creators Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.
Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table on their quest for the Holy Grail. The show will boast "a chorus line of legless knights, men in tights (with legs), killer rabbits and dancing divas who create unforgettable musical production numbers." Creator Eric Idle, in the show's announcement, promises it will be "almost as good as anything else opening in Chicago that week."
The musical features a completely new score with music and lyrics by Idle and composer John Du Prez ("A Fish Called Wanda") with three songs ("Brave Sir Robin," "He's Going to Tell," and "Knights of the Round Table") from the original 1975 film. Larry Hochman (Fiddler on the Roof) provides orchestrations, Glen Kelly handles music arrangements and Michael Keller will be musical coordinator.
Ostar Boyett Productions produce the new musical stars Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Show, "Clue") as King Arthur, David Hyde Pierce ("Frasier," The Heidi Chronicles) as Sir Robin and Hank Azaria ("The Birdcage," Sexual Perversity in Chicago) as Sir Lancelot, Michael McGrath (Wonderful Town) as Patsy et al., Steve Rosen (The Golem) as Sir Bedevere and Sara Ramirez (A Class Act) as The Lady of the Lake. The ensemble includes Christian Borle, Brad Bradley, Thomas Cannizzaro, Kevin Covert, Jennifer Frankel, Lisa Gajda, Jenny Hill, Emily Hsu, Abbey O'Brien, Daniel Pearce, Ariel Reid, Pamela Remler, Greg Reuter, Brian Shepard, Rick Spaans and Scott Taylor.
The world premiere of Monty Python's Spamalot will play a pre-Broadway run at the Shubert Theatre, located at 22 W. Monroe Street in Chicago, IL. Tickets are available through the show website at www.montypythonsspamalot.com.