New King and Lady Join Monty Python's Spamalot on Broadway

News   New King and Lady Join Monty Python's Spamalot on Broadway
 
London stage star Simon Russell Beale is crowned the new King Arthur and Broadway veteran Lauren Kennedy rises as The Lady of the Lake in Monty Python's Spamalot Dec. 20 on Broadway.

Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Tony Award winner Sara Ramirez and Tony-nominated original star Tim Curry exited their roles in the Tony-winning musical Dec. 18.

Beale, the recent star of Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist at London's Donmar Warehouse, made his Broadway debut last season in Jumpers. An associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National and Almeida Theatres, he has earned awards for his performances in stagings including Othello, Candide, Hamlet, Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night. He was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2003.

Kennedy was last seen on Broadway in Side Show and has also appeared in Sunset Boulevard and Les Miserables. The actress originated the role of Kathleen in The Last Five Years and Patra in The Rhythm Club. She has also been as Nellie seen in the Royal National Theatre production of South Pacific and as Nefertari in The Ten Commandments: The Spectacle Musical. She is on the web at www.laurenkennedy.com.

Original Tony Award-nominated co-star Hank Azaria — who took time off for his TV gig on Showtime's "Huff" — just returned to the production Dec. 2 joining his original co star David Hyde Pierce. Both have extended their contracts with the show through April.

* Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table on their quest from God (voiced by a familiar actor) for the Holy Grail — with a short stop in the dazzling Spam-filled land of Camelot. The show boasts "a chorus line of dancing divas and knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and one legless knight" who sing and dance. (Python devotees will be happy to know The Knights Who Say "Ni!" also make an appearance.)

The musical earned 14 nominations for the 2005 Tony Awards, winning prizes for Best Musical and Featured Actress Sara Ramirez. Also an audience favorite, the show continues to play to capacity crowds and break house records at the Shubert.

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.

Featuring a completely new score with music and lyrics by Eric Idle and composer John Du Prez ("A Fish Called Wanda"), Spamalot also includes songs ("Brave Sir Robin" and "Knights of the Round Table") from the original film. The Decca Broadway original cast recording of the show has already sold more than 100,000 copies since the album's release in May.

Mike Nichols ("The Graduate," "Angels in America") directs the musical inspired by the 1975 feature film comedy "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." The musical made its world premiere at Chicago's Shubert Theatre then landed at Broadway's Shubert for a St. Valentine's Day (Feb. 14) start and a St. Patrick's Day (March 17) opening.

A national tour is scheduled to launch March 7, 2006 from Boston's Colonial Theatre (March 7-April 15, 2006) before heading to stops at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre (April 19-June 4, 2006), Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre (June 7-July 9, 2006), Pittsburgh CLO's Benedum Center (Sept. 19-Oct. 1, 2006) and Atlanta's Fox Theatre (Feb. 20-March 4, 2007). More U.S. and Canada stops as well as casting are yet to be announced.

The show will also enjoy a new run at the Wynn Las Vegas — currently home to the sole Avenue Q run off Broadway — when the casino resort completes work on a custom-built Spamalot Experience and Grail Theatre in 2007.

For more information, visit the show website at www.montypythonsspamalot.com.

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