Last Night in Chicago for Broadway-Bound Knights as Monty Python's Spamalot Ends Debut

News   Last Night in Chicago for Broadway-Bound Knights as Monty Python's Spamalot Ends Debut The Knights Who Say "Ni!," the persistent Black Knight and those of the Round Table perform their Chicago farewell Jan. 23 as the cast of Monty Python's Spamalot begin their quest for stage's Holy Grail: Broadway.
Hank Azaria in Monty Python's Spamalot
Hank Azaria in Monty Python's Spamalot Photo by Joan Marcus

Mike Nichols ("The Graduate," "Angels in America") directs the musical inspired by the 1975 feature film comedy "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." The world premiere at Chicago's Shubert Theatre began Dec. 21, 2004 and opened Jan. 9.

Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce and Hank Azaria star in the work which begins previews St. Valentine's Day (Feb. 14) and opens St. Patrick's Day (March 17) at Broadway's Shubert Theatre.

The self-proclaimed "lovingly ripped-off" show 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 dancing divas and knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and one legless knight who create unforgettable musical production." Creator Eric Idle, in the show's announcement, promises it will be "as good as or quite likely better than any other show with killer rabbits and a legless knight opening on Broadway or in Chicago this season.”

The new musical stars Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Show, "Clue") as King Arthur, David Hyde Pierce ("Frasier," The Heidi Chronicles) as Sir Robin, Hank Azaria ("The Birdcage," Sexual Perversity in Chicago) as Sir Lancelot, Christopher Seiber (Into The Woods) as Sir Galahad, 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 John Bolton, Christian Borle, Brad Bradley, Thomas Cannizzaro, Kevin Covert, Jennifer Frankel, Lisa Gajda, Jenny Hill, Emily Hsu, James Ludwig, Abbey O'Brien, Daniel Pearce, Ariel Reid, Pamela Remler, Greg Reuter, Brian Shepard, Rick Spaans and Scott Taylor.

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The musical features a completely new score with music and lyrics by Idle and composer John Du Prez ("A Fish Called Wanda") with songs ("Brave Sir Robin" and "Knights of the Round Table") from the original film.

The Chicago run included the songs "Fisch Schlapping Song," "King Arthur’s Song," "I Am Not Dead Yet," "Come With Me," "The Song That Goes Like This," "Burn Her!," "All For One," "Knights of the Round Table," "The Song That Goes Like This (Reprise)," "Find Your Grail," "The Cow Song," "Run Away," "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," "Brave Sir Robin," "You Won’t Succeed on Broadway," "The Diva’s Lament," "Where Are You?," "Here Are You," "His Name is Lancelot," "I’m All Alone," "The Song That Goes Like This (Reprise)," "The Holy Grail" and "Find Your Grail Finale - Medley."

Todd Ellison is musical director and vocal arranger. Larry Hochman provides orchestrations, Glen Kelly handles music arrangements and Michael Keller is musical coordinator.

The design team for Spamalot features Tim Hatley (set, costume), Hugh Vanstone (lighting), Gregory Meeh (special effects) and ACME Sound Partners (sound). Ostar Boyett Productions produces.

"I always had in the back of my mind that 'The Grail' would make a good musical," Eric Idle previously told Playbill On-Line. "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.'"

The show's title is derived from a line in the movie when the Knights quote "We eat ham and jam and SPAM a lot." Hormel Foods — which produces SPAM products — has even created a special collector's edition can of a new SPAM Golden Honey Grail flavor in honor of the show. The tin includes artwork from the show's marketing campaign.

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."

The Shubert Theatre in Chicago is at 22 W. Monroe Street . Tickets are available through the show website at www.montypythonsspamalot.com.