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 tryout at Chicago's Shubert Theatre continues to Jan. 23, 2005. Broadway previews begin at the Shubert Theatre in Manhattan Feb. 14, 2005 toward an opening March 17, 2005.
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 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 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. 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 film. 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.