Knights and Dates Set for Monty Python's Spamalot Broadway Musical

News   Knights and Dates Set for Monty Python's Spamalot Broadway Musical Tim Curry as King Arthur, David Hyde Pierce as Sir Robin and Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot will star in the upcoming Broadway musical version of the "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," set to begin Feb. 7, 2005, and open March 10, 2005, at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre as Monty Python's Spamalot.
Tim Curry
Tim Curry

Mike Nichols ("The Graduate," "Angels in America") directs the work set to have its world premiere at Chicago's Shubert Theatre, Dec. 21, 2004, to Jan. 16, 2005, before heading to Broadway.

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. The show will include three songs ("Brave Sir Robin," "He's Going to Tell," and "Knights of the Round Table") from the original 1975 film and a completely new score with music and lyrics by Idle and composer John Du Prez ("A Fish Called Wanda"). Larry Hochman (Fiddler on the Roof) provides orchestrations, Glen Kelly handles music arrangements and Michael Keller will be musical coordinator.

Curry is known to film audiences for his reprise turn as Frank N' Furter — a role he originated in London, Los Angeles and then on Broadway in 1975. He has also appeared on stage in Travesties, Amadeus, My Favorite Year and the Madison Square Garden A Christmas Carol. His film credits include "Annie," "Legend," "Clue," "Charlie's Angels" and the upcoming "Kinsey."

Pierce — known for his three-time, Emmy Award-winning turn as Dr. Niles Crane on "Frasier," — has appeared on the Broadway stage in Beyond Therapy and The Heidi Chronicles. His film credits include "Down With Love," "Isn't She Great," "Sleepless in Seattle," and in voice on "A Bug’s Life" and "Osmosis Jones."

Azaria recently played on the London stage in David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago. The actor, known in voice for his three-time Emmy Award-winning roles on "The Simpsons," is also remembered for his comic turns in such films as "The Birdcage," "Along Came Polly," "America’s Sweethearts," "Mystery Men" and "Grosse Pointe Blank." Other turns include "Cradle Will Rock," "Great Expectations," and TV's "Tuesdays With Morrie," "Mad About You" and the forthcoming Showtime series "Huff." 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."

Spamalot will be produced by Ostar Boyett Productions. The design team features Tim Hatley (set and costume), Hugh Vanstone (lighting), ACME Sound Partners (sound) and Gregory Meeh (special effects). Todd Ellison will serve as musical director and Casey Nicholaw will choreograph.

"I always had in the back of my mind that 'The Grail' would make a good musical," Eric Idle previously told Playbill On-Line (March 2004). "We just took it up and recorded some songs and we sent it to the [other] Pythons and they loved it and said 'Yes, absolutely, go ahead.'"

Casting is still in the works for actors who will portray more than 30 characters in Spamalot. Idle explained, "We're looking for six major funny people and two major funny women. They play the bulk of everything. One of the essential things about Python theatre is that everybody plays everything."

The original comedy troupe rose to fame with their BBC television show "Monty Python's Flying Circus," then gained international acclaim by turning their sketches and songs into films including "Monty Python's And Now for Something Completely Different," "Monty Python's Life of Brian" and "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life."

As noted on a release, "Spamalot will only play at theatres called Shubert. If someone tries to convince you you’re seeing Spamalot, and you find you’re not at a theatre called Shubert, you’re in the wrong place. Now. Run away."

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 currently on sale for subscriptions and groups of 20 or more by calling (312) 977 1710.For more information on the Broadway In Chicago season, visit www.broadwayinchicago.com.