Once and Future King: Simon Russell Beale to Replace Tim Curry as Spamalot's Arthur

News   Once and Future King: Simon Russell Beale to Replace Tim Curry as Spamalot's Arthur
 
London stage star Simon Russell Beale will be crowned the new King Arthur of Broadway's Monty Python's Spamalot Dec. 20, replacing Tony Award nominated Tim Curry in the role.

Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Curry will exit the new Tony Award-winning musical later this year and Beale will take over his role Dec. 20, according to a production spokesperson

Beale, who currently stars in 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.

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.

Plans are in the works for a national tour scheduled to launch March 7, 2006 from Boston's Colonial Theatre before returning to Chicago (where it made its world premiere) and traveling to Washington, D.C., among other stops. A Las Vegas production will reside at the Wynn Las Vegas casino resort in a new custom-built Spamalot Experience and Grail Theatre in 2007.

The show opened with 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. Alan Tudyk (Epic Proportions, "28 Days") currently replaces Azaria.

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.

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

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