His Name Is Lancelot: Original Star Azaria Returns to Monty Python's Spamalot Dec. 2

News   His Name Is Lancelot: Original Star Azaria Returns to Monty Python's Spamalot Dec. 2
Original Monty Python's Spamalot star Hank Azaria reclaims his Tony Award nominated turn when he returns to the Broadway musical Dec. 2.
Hank Azaria in Monty Python's Spamalot.
Hank Azaria in Monty Python's Spamalot. Photo by Joan Marcus

Azaria took a break from his Broadway debut June 6 to return to filming on his Showtime drama series "Huff." In his stead, Alan Tudyk (Epic Proportions, "Dodgeball," "Serenity") played the actor's various Spamalot roles including Lancelot, The French Taunter, Knight of Ni and Tim the Enchanter.

The actor rejoins his original co-star David Hyde Pierce — both recently extended their stints in the run through April. They will be joined by London stage star Simon Russell Beale (The Philanthropist, Jumpers) who will be crowned the new King Arthur Dec. 18, replacing Tony-nominated Tim Curry in the role. Lauren Kennedy (Side Show, Sunset Boulevard) will also replace Tony-winner Sara Ramirez on the same day.

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, Best Direction (Mike Nichols) 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 production recouped its $12 million capitalization in Oct. 2005 — six and a half months after opening on Broadway. And a national tour launches from Boston in March 2006.

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.

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.

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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