|Monty Python's Spamalot|
Original Broadway Windowcard
|Music||John Du Prez
|Basis||1975 Monty Python film
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
|Productions||2004 Chicago (preview)
2006 West End
2008 North American tour
2009 North American tour
2010 UK Tour
2012 West End (revival)
2013 North American tour
|Awards||Tony Award for Best Musical
Drama Desk Outstanding Musical
Drama Desk for Outstanding Lyrics
Monty Python's Spamalot is a musical comedy "lovingly ripped off from" the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Like the film, it is a highly irreverent parody of the Arthurian Legend, but it differs from the film in many ways.
One of the musical's creators, Eric Idle, explained the title in a February 2004 press release:
I like the title Spamalot a lot. We tested it with audiences on my recent US tour and they liked it as much as I did, which is gratifying. After all, they are the ones who will be paying Broadway prices to see the show. It comes from a line in the movie which goes: "we eat ham, and jam and Spam a lot."
The original 2005 Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols, won three Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004–2005 season and received 14 Tony Award nominations. During its initial run of over 1,500 performances it was seen by more than two million people and grossed over $175 million.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Musical numbers
- 3 Characters
- 4 Production history
- 4.1 Chicago
- 4.2 Broadway
- 4.3 US Tour
- 4.4 West End and UK tour
- 4.5 Las Vegas
- 4.6 Australia
- 4.7 New Zealand
- 4.8 Spain
- 4.9 Germany
- 4.10 Hungary
- 4.11 Sweden
- 4.12 Belgium
- 4.13 Czech Republic
- 4.14 France
- 4.15 Poland
- 4.16 Canada
- 4.17 Ireland
- 4.18 Italy
- 4.19 Netherlands
- 4.20 Mexico
- 4.21 Japan
- 4.22 South Korea
- 4.23 Norway
- 4.24 Switzerland
- 5 Reactions by Monty Python members
- 6 Critical reception and box-office
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 Television
- 9 References
- 10 External links
||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
Before the play
A recording encourages members of the audience to "let your cellphones and pagers ring willy-nilly," and comments that they should "be aware there are heavily armed knights on stage that may drag you on stage and impale you." This was recorded by John Cleese.
A historian gives a brief overview of medieval England. In a miscommunication between the actors and the narrator, a Scandinavian village appears, with Finnish villagers along with the Mayor of the country on his fort singing the "Fisch Schlapping Song." The men grab tiny fish and lightly slap the women in the face with them. After a couple of slaps, the women pull out much larger fish and slap the men in return with great force, making the men fall flat on the floor. The villagers continue to sing and dance. Then, two women slap the mayor hard in the face with enormous fish, both having huge smiles on their faces while slapping him. Because both women slapped him at the same time with so much force, the mayor falls flat on the floor, then leaves the stage. His fort is then taken over by one of the women who slapped him. The villagers continue to sing and dance. The Historian returns, irritated, and tells the frolicking Finns that he was talking about England, not Finland. The scene immediately goes to a dreary, dark village with penitent monks in hooded robes chanting Latin. King Arthur travels the land with his servant Patsy, who follows him around banging two coconut shells together to make the sound of a horse's hooves as Arthur "rides" before him, trying to recruit Knights of the Round Table to join him in Camelot. He encounters a pair of sentries who are more interested in debating whether two swallows could successfully carry a coconut than in listening to the king.
Sir Robin, a collector of plague victims, and Lancelot, a large, handsome and incredibly violent man, meet as Lancelot attempts to dispose of the sickly Not Dead Fred ("He Is Not Dead Yet"). They agree to become Knights of the Round Table together, Lancelot for the fighting, and Robin for the singing and the dancing.
Arthur attempts to convince a peasant named Dennis Galahad that he, Arthur, is king of England because the Lady of the Lake gave him Excalibur, the sword given only to the man fit to rule England. However, Dennis and his mother, Mrs Galahad, are political radicals and deny that any king who has not been elected by the people has any legitimate right to rule over them. To settle the issue, Arthur has the Lady Of The Lake and her Laker Girls appear to turn Dennis into a knight ("Come With Me"). Cheered on by the girls ("Laker Girls Cheer"), the Lady Of The Lake turns Dennis into Sir Galahad and together, they sing a generic Broadway love song ("The Song That Goes Like This"), complete with chandelier. They are joined by Sir Robin and Sir Lancelot, and together with Sir Bedevere and "the aptly named" Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Show (a knight resembling Don Quixote, who promptly apologises and leaves), they make up the Knights of the Round Table ("All For One").
The five knights gather in Camelot, a deliberately anachronistic place resembling Las Vegas's Camelot-inspired Excalibur resort, complete with showgirls, oversized dice and the Lady of the Lake headlining the Castle in full Cher get-up ("Knights Of The Round Table"/"The Song That Goes Like This (Reprise)"). In the midst of their revelry, they are contacted by God (a recording voiced by John Cleese of the original Monty Python troupe and Eric Idle in the version currently touring the UK) who tells them to locate the Holy Grail. Urged on by the Lady Of The Lake ("Find Your Grail"), the Knights set off. They travel throughout the land until they reach a castle, only to be viciously taunted by lewd French soldiers. They attempt to retaliate by sending them a large wooden rabbit in the style of the Trojan Horse; however, they realise after the fact that it was not as simple as leaving the rabbit and walking away – they should have hidden inside it. Defeated, they leave in a hurry when the French begin taunting them again, sending cancan dancers after them and throwing barnyard animals including cows at them ("Run Away!"). Arthur and his followers manage to run into the safety of the wings before the French catapult the Trojan Rabbit at them.
Sir Robin and his minstrels follow King Arthur and Patsy into a "dark and very expensive forest", where they are separated. King Arthur meets the terrifying but silly Knights who say Ni, who demand a shrubbery. King Arthur despairs of finding one, but Patsy cheers him up ("Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life") and they find a shrubbery shortly after.
Sir Robin, after wandering the forest for some time with his minstrels ("Brave Sir Robin"), encounters The Black Knight, who scares him off, but King Arthur, who happens on the scene, more or less defeats him by cutting off both his arms and legs, impaling his still-alive torso on a door, and leaving to give the Knights their shrubbery. The Knights accept it, but next demand that King Arthur put on a musical and bring it to Broadway (in the United Kingdom, this became a West End musical; on the tour, they must put on a "Broadway musical"), implying that it need only be Broadway-style, "but not an Andrew Lloyd Webber". The mere mention of his name causes everyone to cover their ears and scream in pain. Sir Robin, who has found Arthur by this point, insists that it would be impossible for them to accomplish this next task, since you need Jews for a successful Broadway (or West End) musical ("You Won't Succeed On Broadway"), and proves his point in a wild production number filled with Fiddler on the Roof parodies, including a bottle dance like the one in Fiddler On The Roof, with Grails instead of bottles. King Arthur and Patsy promptly set off in search of Jews.
(In countries that don't have a tradition of Jews in the theatre, the lyrics of "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" are sometimes changed to instead describe the high production standards and acting talent needed to stage a successful musical in that country. For example, in the South Korean version, Sir Robin sings about recent successful musicals that were staged in Seoul during the previous decade. Meanwhile, members of the ensemble appear onstage dressed as various characters from those musicals. Among these characters are a cat from Cats, Kenickie from Grease, Kim from Miss Saigon, The Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera, and Velma Kelly from Chicago. As with the original version of the song, Sir Robin and the entire ensemble end the number with a song and dance routine.)
While the Lady Of The Lake laments her lack of stage time ("Whatever Happened To My Part?"), Sir Lancelot receives a letter from what he assumes is a young damsel in distress. He is very surprised to find that the "damsel" is actually an embarrassingly effeminate young man named Prince Herbert ("Where Are You?"/"Here Are You") whose overbearing, music-hating father, the King of Swamp Castle, is forcing him into an arranged marriage. As Herbert is asking Lancelot to help him escape, the King of Swamp Castle cuts the rope that he is using to climb out of the window, and Herbert falls to his apparent death. Lancelot is a bit puzzled at the king's actions, but it is revealed that Herbert was saved at the last minute by Lancelot's sidekick, Concorde. The King asks his son how he was saved, exactly, to which Herbert replies happily with a song. But the king charges at his son with a spear, preparing to kill him. Lancelot steps in to save him, then gives a tearful, heartfelt speech about sensitivity to the king on Herbert's behalf, and Lancelot is outed as a homosexual in the process, an announcement celebrated in a wild disco number ("His Name is Lancelot").
King Arthur begins to give up hope of ever putting on the Broadway musical and laments that he is alone, even though Patsy has been with him the entire time ("I'm All Alone"). The Lady Of The Lake appears and tells Arthur that he and the Knights have been in a Broadway musical all along. Patsy also reveals he is half Jewish, but didn't want to say anything to Arthur because "that's not really the sort of thing you say to a heavily armed Christian." All that's left is for King Arthur to find the Grail and marry someone. After picking up on some not-too-subtle hints, Arthur decides to marry the Lady Of The Lake after he finds the Grail ("Twice in Every Show").
Reunited with his Knights, Arthur meets Tim the Enchanter who warns them of the danger of an evil rabbit. When the rabbit bites a knight's head off, Arthur uses the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch against it, knocking down a nearby hill and revealing that the "evil rabbit" was actually a puppet controlled by a surprised puppeteer. A large stone block showing a combination of letters and numbers is also revealed. (The letters are based on the seat numbering system used by each theatre. They are changed from performance to performance to discourage audience members from intentionally booking any of the possible seats. The seat is typically on the aisle in one of the first few rows nearest the orchestra. In the Broadway production and on the tour it is either A101, B101, C101 or D101; i.e., Seat 101 – which is house left of the center aisle – of Rows A, B, C, or D. In the West End Production a word is revealed – DONE, CONE or BONE, referring to D1, C1 and B1 respectively.) After pondering the final clue, Arthur admits that they're "a bit stumped with the clue thing" and asks God to "give them a hand". A large hand points to the audience and Arthur realises that the letters and numbers refer to a seat number in the audience. The grail is "found" (with some sleight of hand) under the seat and the person sitting in the seat is rewarded with a small trophy and a polaroid photo. ("The Holy Grail"). Arthur marries the Lady of the Lake, who reveals that her name is Guinevere; Lancelot marries Herbert (who finally has a chance to sing); and Sir Robin decides to pursue a career in musical theatre ("Act 2 Finale/Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Company Bow)").
The overall duration of the show is about two hours plus interval time.
Eric Idle wrote the musical's book and lyrics and collaborated with John Du Prez on the music, except for "Knights of the Round Table" and "Brave Sir Robin", which were composed by Neil Innes for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. ("Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" was originally written by Idle for the film Monty Python's Life of Brian.)
*Does not appear on the Original cast album.
**On the cast album but not in the show itself.
The Court of Camelot
In tribute to the film, where six actors played the majority of the male parts (and a few female ones), several actors play multiple roles; the only major characters not doubling are Arthur and the Lady of the Lake. In the Broadway production, the following doubling is used:
- Lancelot/2nd Sentry/The French Taunter/Knight of Ni/Tim the Enchanter
- Robin/1st Sentry/Brother Maynard/2nd Guard
- Galahad/King of Swamp Castle/Black Knight
- Patsy/Mayor of Finland/1st Guard
- Bedevere/Mrs. Galahad/Concorde
- The Historian/Prince Herbert/Not Dead Fred/Lead Minstrel/The French Taunter's Best Friend
Sara Ramirez was intended to double as a witch but this part was cut from the final script. Several pairs of characters originally played by the same Monty Python member were reduced to one: the Dead Collector and Sir Robin (Idle), the Large Man with a Dead Body and Sir Lancelot (Cleese), and Dennis the Politically-Active Peasant and Sir Galahad (Michael Palin).
Two musical numbers were dropped from Act One while the production was still in Chicago. During the scene set in the "Witch Village", the torch song "Burn Her!" was originally performed by Sir Bedevere, The Witch, Sir Robin, Lancelot and Villagers. At the French Castle, "The Cow Song", in a parody of a stereotypical film noir/cabaret style, was performed by The Cow and French Citizens. Before the two songs were cut in Chicago, the lead vocals in both songs were sung by Sara Ramirez. This gave her six songs in Act One, but no further appearances until scene five in Act Two, for "The Diva's Lament".
The musical previewed on Broadway, at New York's Shubert Theatre, beginning 14 February 2005, and, after some changes, officially opened on 17 March 2005. Mike Nichols directed, and Casey Nicholaw choreographed. The production won the Tony Award for Best Musical and was nominated for 14 Tony Awards. The show played its final performance on 11 January 2009 after 35 previews and 1,575 performances; it was seen by more than two million people and grossed over $175 million, recouping its initial production costs in under six months.
The original Broadway cast included Tim Curry as King Arthur, Michael McGrath as Patsy, David Hyde Pierce as Sir Robin, Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot and other roles (e.g., the French Taunter, Knight of Ni, and Tim the Enchanter), Christopher Sieber as Sir Galahad and other roles (e.g., the Black Knight and Prince Herbert's Father), and Sara Ramirez as the Lady of the Lake. It also included Christian Borle as Prince Herbert and other roles (e.g., the Historian and Not Dead Fred), Steve Rosen as Sir Bedevere and other roles (e.g., Concorde and Dennis's Mother) and John Cleese as the (recorded) Voice of God.
Notable cast replacements included:
- Hank Azaria was replaced by Steve Kazee, Alan Tudyk and later by Rick Holmes.
- Sara Ramirez was replaced by Lauren Kennedy, then by Marin Mazzie, Hannah Waddingham, and Merle Dandridge.
- Tim Curry was replaced by Simon Russell Beale, Harry Groener, Jonathan Hadary, Stephen Collins, Michael Siberry, and John O'Hurley.
- Christopher Sieber was replaced by Lewis Cleale, then by Bradley Dean.
- Christian Borle was replaced by Tom Deckman.
- David Hyde Pierce was replaced by Martin Moran, Clay Aiken, and Robert Petkoff.
- Michael McGrath was replaced by David Hibbard, then by Drew Lachey.
- Steve Rosen was replaced by Jeffrey Kuhn, Brad Oscar and Wally Dunn.
- First National tour (2006–2009)
A North American tour commenced in spring 2006, and the cast included Michael Siberry as King Arthur, Jeff Dumas as Patsy/Mayor/Guard, David Turner as Robin/Guard/Brother Maynard, Rick Holmes as Lancelot/French Taunter/Knight of Ni/Tim The Enchanter, Bradley Dean as Galahad/Black Knight/Herbert's Father, Tom Deckman as The Historian/Not Dead Fred/French Guard/Minstrel/Prince Herbert, Christopher Gurr as Sir Bedevere/Dennis's Mother/Concorde, and Pia Glenn (who remains slated for productions as late as June 2008) as the Lady of the Lake. Deckman moved to the Broadway production in November 2006 and was replaced by Christopher Sutton.
The tour won three 2007 Touring Broadway Awards, including Best New Musical.
This same tour returned to Chicago on 20 January 2009 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, this time with Richard Chamberlain as King Arthur. This production costs $419,099.53 in artist fees/royalties for 8 performances in a venue in Florida.
The Tour continued through the summer 2009, with dates at the Golden Gate Theatre San Francisco, the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, the Canon Theatre in Toronto, the San Diego Civic Theatre in San Diego, the Tucson Music Hall in Tucson, and played its final performances at the Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa where it closed on 18 October 2009.
- Second National tour (2010)
A Second North American tour launched on 24 September 2010 from Waterbury, CT and ended 26 June 2011 in Dallas, TX. Leading the tour was a non-equity cast, however it used the same sets and costumes as the First National tour. The cast included Steve McCoy as King Arthur, Caroline Bowman as the Lady of the Lake, Adam Grabau as Lancelot, Jacob L. Smith as Galahad, Matt Ban as Sir Bedevere/Dennis's Mother, Glenn Giron as Patsy, Martin Glyer as Robin, Thomas DeMarcus as The Historian, and John Garry as Not Dead Fred/Prince Herbert. Other cast members include Stephen Cerf, Jennifer Cordiner, Carl Draper, William Harrell, Melissa Denise Lopez, Shaun Patrick Moe, Linda Neel, Jeffrey Shankle, Keleen Snowgren, Tara Sweeney, Michael Warrell, Jessica Wockenfuss, Matthew Alexander, and Jenny Holahan. The tour restarted later that year and ran through 2012.
- Third National tour (2013)
A third North American tour is scheduled to begin in 2013.
West End and UK tour
A London production opened at the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End, commencing 30 September 2006 (London première 17 October) with tickets on sale booking to November 2008. Curry reprised his Broadway rôle as King Arthur until December, with Beale taking over from January. Sieber also reprised his rôle as Sir Galahad before leaving in early 2007, replaced by Graham McDuff. Hannah Waddingham was cast as the Lady of the Lake, Tom Goodman-Hill as Sir Lancelot, Robert Hands as Sir Robin, David Birell as Patsy, Tony Timberlake as Sir Bedevere and Darren Southworth as Prince Herbert. Notable cast replacements have included Peter Davison and Bill Ward in 2007 and, briefly, Marin Mazzie, in early 2008. Sanjeev Bhaskar took over from Alan Dale as the last King Arthur (23 June 2008 onwards). The London production closed on 3 January 2009. The show was revived on the West End for seven weeks during the summer of 2012 and played for a limited time at the Harold Pinter Theatre (using some of the costumes, sets, and actors from the UK Tour). Marcus Brigstocke (who had appeared on the tour) shared the role of King Arthur with Jon Culshaw for those seven weeks. The production moved to the Playhouse Theatre on 4 November 2012, and continues to play there. During 2013 a number of celebrities each played the part of God for a week in aid of charity, including Gary Lineker, Barbara Windsor, Brian May and Michael Palin.
A UK tour scheduled for later in 2009 was initially postponed, the producers commenting "Due to unforeseen circumstances the UK Tour of Spamalot will not be taking place as scheduled in 2009", but eventually started at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 29 May – 5 June 2010 and Nottingham Theatre Royal on 7–12 June 2010. The tour is scheduled to run until June 2011 at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. The production travelled to Trieste's Politeama Rossetti marking on 24 May 2011 the official opening of the show in Italy.
Phill Jupitus plays King Arthur in the current UK tour. Todd Carty plays Patsy, assistant to King Arthur for the duration of the tour. He is due to finish the tour after performing at Wycombe Swan theatre. Marcus Brigstocke made musical theatre debut as King Arthur for a limited engagement. Jodie Prenger, Hayley Tamaddon, and Amy Nuttall share the rôle of The Lady of the Lake. The tour also features Simon Lipkin as Sir Galahad, Graham McDuff as Sir Lancelot, David Lingham as Prince Herbert, Samuel Holmes as Sir Robin, and Robin Armstrong as Sir Bedevere.
The UK tour also features for the first time a re-working of the song "You won't succeed on Broadway" which has been renamed "You won't succeed in showbiz". The theme of the song has been changed from poking fun at the need for Jewish input into Broadway productions and instead mocks the cross over of celebrities in musicals and reality television competitions such as the X Factor. It notably pokes fun at reality TV celebrities including Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Susan Boyle (who is shot by Sir Robin when she begins to sing).
|Role||Original West End||Final West End||UK Tour||West End Revival|
|King Arthur||Tim Curry||Sanjeev Bhaskar||Marcus Brigstocke||Stephen Tompkinson|
|Lady of the Lake||Hannah Waddingham||Nina Söderquist||Jodie Prenger||Anna-Jane Casey|
|Patsy||David Birrel||Andrew Spillett||Todd Carty||Todd Carty
|Sir Lancelot||Tom Goodman-Hill||Jake Nightingale||Graham MacDuff||Graham MacDuff
|Sir Galahad||Christopher Sieber||Michael Xavier||Simon Lipkin||Jon Robyns|
|Sir Robin||Robert Hands||Ross Dawes||Samuel Holmes||Rob Delaney|
|Sir Bedevere||Tony Timberlake||Adam Stafford||Robin Armstrong||Robin Armstrong|
|Prince Herbert||Darren Southworth||Gerard Carey||David Langham||Adam Ellis|
A production of the musical began Las Vegas, Nevada previewed on 8 March 2007 and opened on 31 March 2007 at the Wynn Las Vegas in the newly renamed Grail Theater (formerly the Broadway Theater, which housed a production of Avenue Q), with an extended balcony to allow for more seating, and a redesigned interior. As with other Las Vegas transfers of Broadway musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera, Spamalot was condensed to run in ninety minutes without an intermission. Among the cuts were the song "All For One", most of the song "Run Away", the Knights of Ni receiving their shrubbery, and the "Make sure he doesn't leave" scene with Prince Herbert's guards.
Actor John O'Hurley starred as King Arthur. Due to the Las Vegas production, the North American touring company would not perform in California, Arizona, or Nevada. In addition to O'Hurley, the cast included Nikki Crawford as Lady of the Lake, Edward Staudenmayer as Galahad, J Anthony Crane as Lancelot, Justin Brill as Patsy, and Harry Bouvy as Robin, with Reva Rice as the standby Lady of the Lake.
Although initially contracted to run for up to ten years its final performance was on 18 July 2008. The Las Vegas production closed to make way for Danny Gans' move from The Mirage casino hotel; the theater was renamed the Encore Theater and integrated into the newer Encore Las Vegas resort. Danny Gans died unexpectedly on 1 May 2009.
A new Australian production started in Melbourne in November 2007 at Her Majesty's Theatre, with the official premiere on 1 December. The cast featured Bille Brown as King Arthur and Lucinda Shaw as the Lady of the Lake, Ben Lewis as Sir Galahad, Stephen Hall as Sir Lancelot, Derek Metzger as Patsy, Jason Langley as Sir Robin and Mark Conaghan as Prince Herbert, with Christina O'Neill as the standby Lady of the Lake.
The Australian production closed on 5 April 2008, due to lack of ticket sales and no tour followed.
The Australian non-professional premiere season of Spamalot was presented by Phoenix Ensemble at the Pavilion Theatre in Beenleigh and the Logan Entertainment Centre from 20 March to 25 April 2009 for 16 performances. This production won several awards at the Gold Coast Theatre Awards including Best Musical Direction (Casey Chadwick and Ben Murray), Best Set Design (Tracey and Luke Hutley, Doug McClean) and Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Natasha York). It was also nominated for Best Costumes (Glynis Aubrey) and Best Choreography (Scott Hollingsworth).
The Gold Coast premiere season of Spamalot opened at the Spotlight Theatre, Benowa on 24 July 2009 for a four-week run. The Sydney premiere of Spamalot was held on 9 October 2009 by The Regals Musical Society.
In Adelaide, a new production of Spamalot opened on 12 March 2010 at the Shedley Theatre.
The Brisbane premiere of Spamalot opened 23 April 2010 at the Schonell Theatre. It was also the inaugural production of Queensland's latest new theatre company 'Blue Fish Theatrical Productions.' Spamalot featured a cast of Brisbane performers – Gary Rose as King Arthur, Bradley McCaw as Patsy, Tony Campbell as Sir Robin, Chris Kellett as Sir Lancelot, Lionel Theunissen as Sir Galahad, Steve Norris as Sir Bedevere (also played by Jason Lawson in a special guest appearance), Tye Shepherd as Finland Mayor/Not Dead Fred/Prince Herbet/Robin's Minstrel and Brother Maynard and Ruth Bridgstock as the Lady of the Lake.
The Canberra premiere was in May 2010 at the ANU Arts Centre by SUPA Productions. Max Gambale as King Arthur, Louiza Blomfield as the Lady of the Lake, Will Huang as Patsy, Joseph McGrail-Bateup as Sir Robin, Patrick J Gallagher as Mrs Galahad, Dave Smith as Galahad and Michael Jordan as Lancelot. Director – Ron Dowd
The show had its Tasmanian premiere in October 2010 at the Theatre Royal, Hobart produced by the Tasmanian Theatre Unit Trust.
The Empire Theatre in Toowoomba, Australia's largest regional theatre, presented Spamalot in October 2010.
Spamalot was presented in Perth in November 2010, by Playlovers in Hackett Hall, Floreat.
The New Zealand premiere was staged at the Globe Theatre Palmerston North for a four-week season in November/December 2009. Hillcrest High School in Hamilton, did the second performance of Spamalot in March 2010 whilst the South Island premiere was performed by Bayfield High School at The Mayfair Theatre, Dunedin on 19–22 May 2010. Newlands College in Wellington, is preparing their own prduction of Spamalot, which will be shown in mid 2014.
The first translated production, in Spanish, opened at Teatre Victoria, Barcelona on 9 September 2008 and closed on 10 May 2009. Directed by Catalan Comedy Group Tricicle and choreographed by Francesc Abós, the cast included Jordi Bosch as King Arthur, Marta Ribera as the Lady of the Lake, Sergi Albert as Sir Galahad (later replaced by Edu Soto), Fernando Gil as Sir Lancelot, Julián Fontalvo as Patsy, Xavi Duch as Sir Robin, Josep M. Gimeno as Sir Bedevere and Jesús García as Prince Herbert, with Sara Pérez as the standby Lady of the Lake. The Original Barcelona Cast Recording was released on December 2008.
On 10 September 2009 the production was transferred to Teatro Lope de Vega, Madrid with some changes in the cast: Dulcinea Juárez as the Lady of the Lake, Ignasi Vidal as Sir Galahad, Víctor Ullate Roche as Sir Robin and Lorena Calero as the standby Lady of the Lake. The show finally closed on 28 February 2010, after more than 450 performances.
The Hungarian production has started on September 2009 at the Madách Theatre in Budapest. Further information
The Swedish production opened on the Malmö Nöjesteater in Malmö on 24 September 2010, and moved to Oscarsteatern in Stockholm one year later and opened on 15 September 2011 where it played through 29 April 2012.
Nina Söderquist, who starred as the last Lady of the Lake in the West End production was thought to reprise her rôle in the Swedish production, but when she became pregnant she was replaced by Anki Albertsson. However, Söderquist returned to the show when it moved to Stockholm in fall 2011.
The show was performed in Swedish with translation by Adde Malmberg, who played Sir Lancelot in the show in both Malmö and Stockholm. Kim Sulocki, who played Patsy in the Swedish show will reprise his rôle in Norwegian in Oslo 2012.
|Role||Original Malmö cast||Stockholm cast|
|King Arthur||Johan Wester||Henrik Dorsin|
|Lady of the Lake||Anki Albertsson||Nina Söderquist|
|Sir Lancelot||Adde Malmberg|
|Sir Galahad||Robert Rydberg|
|Sir Robin||Johan Glans|
|Sir Bedevere||Anders Jansson||Henrik Hjelt|
|Prince Herbert||Mattias Linderoth|
The Belgian production will be directed by Belgian actor and director Stany Crets.
The premiere of Czech production took place 6 March 2010 in the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Pilsen. The play achieved a great success. It is a completely translated version by Adam Novák and directed by Roman Meluzín.
Since 25 September 2010 "Spamalot" is played at the music theatre in Gdynia, Poland, directed by Maciej Korwin. The première took place on 2 October 2010.
Mecca Productions of Brandon, Manitoba staged their production of Spamalot 18–21 November 2010. This marks the first time a non-professional company has performed the show in Canada. The production stars James Comrie as King Arthur, Lisa Vasconcelos as The Lady of the Lake, Chris Isaak as Sir Dennis Galahad, Bob Brereton as Patsy, Dylan Woodcock as Sir Robin, Brody Harms as Sir Lancelot, and John Szabo as Sir Bedevere.
Ontario's premiere amateur performance of 'SPAMalot' was staged in Windsor, Ontario at the Chrysler Centre of the Performing Arts in November 2012 through Windsor Light Music Theatre as their 126th successive major musical production. Directed by John Whatley, the production relied heavily on English dialect coaching by Eryl Child making sure it was true to the beloved Python films and gags. The "new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture" featured Ryan Turgeon as King Arthur, Lia Khan as the Lady of the Lake, Matthew Steckle as Sir Galahad, Christopher Hickman as Patsy, Jakob Skrzypa as Sir Robin, Jim Reid as Sir Lancelot, and Christopher Fazekas as Sir Bedevere.
Spamalot will be produced in Calgary by Front Row Centre Players as part of their 2012–13 season: shows are 11–26 January at the Pumphouse Theatres.
Spamalot is being produced by the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta as part of their 2012–2013 season. It runs 20 April – 19 May 2013
Spamalot is being produced by VOS (Victorian Operetta Society) in Cobourg, Ontario in April 2013.
Spamalot is being produced by Drayton Entertainment at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse and Huron Country Playhouse in the summer of 2013. Notable stars include Victor A. Young as King Arthur, Nick Settimi as Patsy, Kristen Peace as The Lady of the Lake, Stephen Patterson as Sir Gallahad and Thomas Alderson as Prince Herbert. The production is Directed by Alex Mustakas.
Spamalot of being produced by Schmooze Productions in Nanaimo, British Columbia as part of the 2013 season. It runs November 14 to December 7 at the Nanaimo Center Stage.
In May 2011, the original UK touring production played at Politeama Rossetti in Trieste. Eric Idle attended the opening night on 24 May.
In April 2011 a Dutch touring version opened, starring comedians Paul Groot and Owen Schumacher. The entire cast also appeared in character on Dutch TV in a Python/Spamalot tribute: "Help, mijn man is ridder!" (Help! My husband is a knight!).
The Japanese version played at two theaters in January and February 2012. The musical ran from 9 to 22 January 2012, at the Akasaka Blitz theater in Tokyo. It then played at the Morinomiya Piloti Hall in Osaka from 2 February to February to 6 February. The musical stars Yusuke Santamaria as King Arthur, Mao Ayabuki as The Lady of The Lake, Narushi Ikeda as Sir Lancelot, Shigeyuki Totsugi as Sir Robin, Kento Kaku as Sir Dennis Galahad, Sarutoki Minagawa as Sir Bedevere, and Magy as Patsy.
The South Korean production played from 1 October to 28 December 2010, with Yesung of Super Junior and Park In-bae rotating as Sir Robin, the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot.
The next South Korean production was in 2013 running from May 21, 2013 to September 1st.
|King Arthur||Atle Antonsen|
|Lady of the Lake||Reidun Sæther|
|Sir Lancelot||Trond Espen Seim|
|Sir Galahad||Håvard Bakke|
|Sir Robin||Anders Baasmo Christiansen|
|Sir Bedevere||Espen Beranek Holm|
|Prince Herbert||Trond Fausa Aurvåg|
|King Arthur||Eric Hättenschwiler|
|Lady of the Lake||Sandra Studer/Marlen Oberholzer|
|Sir Lancelot||Tino Andrea Honegger|
|Sir Galahad||Nathanael Schaer|
|Sir Robin||Rolf Sommer|
|Sir Bedevere||Flavio Dal Molin|
|Prince Herbert||Rolf Sommer|
Reactions by Monty Python members
|“||"I'm making them money, and the ungrateful bastards never thank me. Who gave them a million dollars each for 'Spamalot'?"||”|
The show has had mixed reactions from Idle's former colleagues in Monty Python.
Terry Gilliam, in an audio interview, describes it as "Python-lite". He later told the BBC News, "It helps with the pension fund, and it helps keep Python alive. As much as we'd like to pull the plug on the whole thing it carries on – it's got a life of its own."
Terry Jones – who co-directed the original film with Gilliam – expressed his opinions forthrightly in May 2005: "Spamalot is utterly pointless. It's full of air…Regurgitating Python is not high on my list of priorities." However, when asked whether he liked Spamalot during an interview with Dennis Daniel on 98.5 WBON-FM "The BONE" on Long Island shortly after the musical's opening on Broadway, Jones said, "Well, I thought it was terrific good fun. It’s great to see the audience loving it. I suppose I had reservations as far as…well…the idea of doing scenes from a film on stage. I just don’t get the point of it. They do them terribly well…I mean, they really are good…but I just quite don’t understand what that’s about. It isn’t really 'Python.' It is very much Eric." Jones went on to say, "...I think the best parts of the musical are the new things. For instance, when they do the Andrew Lloyd Webber take-off and this girl comes in and sings 'Whatever Happened to My Part' since she hasn’t appeared since the opening number and she’s really furious! That is one of the great moments where the show really comes alive for me."
In an Oct. 2006 interview, Michael Palin said, "We’re all hugely delighted that Spamalot is doing so well. Because we’re all beneficiaries! It’s a great show. It’s not ‘Python’ as we would have written it. But then, none of us would get together and write a ‘Python’ stage show. Eric eventually ran out of patience and said, ‘Well, I’ll do it myself then.’ He sent us bits and songs and all that and we said, ‘Yeah, that’s all right, have a go.’ But its success is so enormous that it took us all by surprise, including Eric, and now we’re just proud to be associated with it, rather pathetically."
When asked by a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter in 2008 if he had to be persuaded to provide the recorded voice of God in the musical, John Cleese said, "Yeah, that’s right. And in the end I think Spamalot turned out splendidly. It’s had a tremendous run. I defy anyone to go and not have a really fun evening. It’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen and I think Eric did a great job."
Critical reception and box-office
The original production has been both a financial and critical success. Variety reported advance ticket sales of $18 million, with ticket prices ranging from $36 to $179. The advance made Broadway box office history.
The show proved to be an early success when moving to London's West End. After high advance ticket sales the show's run was extended by four weeks, four months before the run commenced. The play makes many references to the film and other material in the Python canon, including a line from "The Lumberjack Song", nods to "Ministry of Silly Walks", the "Election Night Special" and "Dead Parrot Sketch" routines, a bar from "Spam" worked into "Knights of the Round Table", a rendition of the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from the film Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979), and the "Fisch Schlapping Song" which is a reference to both "The Fish-Slapping Dance" and the song "Finland". Another reference is actually part of the Playbill of the show; there are several gag pages about a musical entitled "Dik Od Triaanenen Fol (Finns Ain't What They Used To Be)". This gag programme was written by Palin, and echoes the faux-Swedish subtitles in the credits of the original Grail Python film.
Broadway musical fans appreciate its references to other musicals and musical theatre in general, such as: "The Song That Goes Like This" (a spoof of Andrew Lloyd Webber productions and many other Broadway power ballads); the knights doing a dance reminiscent of Fiddler on the Roof, and another reminiscent of West Side Story (including the music); Sir Lancelot's mimicking of Peter Allen in "His Name Is Lancelot"; the character of Sir Not Appearing in This Show being Man of La Mancha's Don Quixote; a member of the French "army" dressed as Eponine from Les Misérables; and a line pulled from "Another Hundred People" from Stephen Sondheim's Company by the "damsel" Herbert. The song "You Won't Succeed (On Broadway)" also parodies The Producers and Yentl.
The show has not escaped criticism. In Slate, Sam Anderson wrote, "Python was formed in reaction to exactly the kind of lazy comedy represented by Spamalot — what Michael Palin once described as the 'easy, catch-phrase reaction' the members had all been forced to pander in their previous writing jobs... Spamalot is the gaudy climax of a long, unfunny tradition of post-Python exploitation – books, actions figures, video games – that treats the old material as a series of slogans to be referenced without doing any of the work that made the lines so original in the first place."
The West End version opened to two rave reviews. "It’s a wonderful night, and I fart in the general direction of anyone who says otherwise", wrote Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph (echoing a joke from the show). According to Paul Taylor in the Independent, "it leaves you that high and weak with laughter, thanks not just to the Python provenance of the basic material but to the phenomenal speed, wit, cheek and showbiz knowingness of the direction, which is by the great veteran, Mike Nichols". Michael Billington in the Guardian was less enthusiastic, though, stating "while I'm happy to see musicals spoofed, the show's New York origins are clearly exposed in a would-be outre number which announces "we won't succeed in show business if we don't have any Jews": a Broadway in-joke that has little purchase this side of the Atlantic." Billington adds, "With hand on heart, I'd much rather watch Lerner and Loewe's Camelot than Eric Idle's smart-arsed Spamalot."
Coconut orchestra world record
On 22 March 2006, to mark the first anniversary of the official Broadway opening, the "World's Largest Coconut Orchestra", 1,789 people clapping together half coconut shells, performed in Shubert Alley, outside the theatre. The claim was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records. This record was broken by 5,567 people in Trafalgar Square at 7 pm on 23 April 2007, led by the cast from the London production, along with Jones and Gilliam, with the coconuts used in place of the whistles in "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". This formed part of London's St George's Day celebrations that year and was followed by a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
In 2006, the London cast of Spamalot performed excerpts at the Royal Variety Performance.
On 10 March 2007, Spamalot partnered with HP Sauce (the classic British brown sauce, now made in the Netherlands following a contentious decision to close its factory in Britain) to produce 1,075 limited edition bottles featuring a unique Spamalot take on the classic HP design. The bottles were available exclusively via Selfridges, London and came in a presentation box with a numbered certificate. 1,075 was chosen to celebrate, absurdly, "1,075 years of the show running in London".
In July 2007 it was announced that the London production would solve the problem of replacing Hannah Waddingham as the Lady of the Lake through a TV talent show in Sweden. The programme, called West End Star, which began airing on TV3 on 8 December 2007, announced Nina Söderquist as the winner on 2 February 2008.
On 15 December 2007, the 10 finalists were announced. These were:
- Sandra Caménisch – 35-year-old full-time mother of three from Stockholm with an eight-week-old son
- Karin Funk – 25-year-old checkout girl at Seven Eleven from Gothenburg
- Jenny Holmgren – 25-year-old student from Stockholm
- Linda Holmgren – 27-year-old cruise ship entertainer from Stockholm, sister of Jenny
- Petra Jablonski – 38-year-old opera singer from Västerås married to renowned concert pianist Patrick Jablonski
- Viktoria Krantz – 31-year-old show jumper from Stockholm
- Divina Sarkany – 34-year-old actress from Gothenburg
- Nina Söderquist – 35-year-old singing waitress from Stockholm (the eventual winner)
- Susanne Petersson – 28-year-old cabaret artist from Malmo
- Josefine Wassler – 19-year-old student at Rock School from Stockholm
Söderquist took up the rôle of The Lady of the Lake, with a standing ovation, on 11 February 2008.
Portions of the Spamalot original cast recording were featured (with accompanying Flash animation) as a special feature in the 2006 "Extraordinarily Deluxe Two-Disc Edition" DVD re-release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Awards and nominations
In the original Broadway production, Sara Ramirez sang the line, "I've no Grammy, no reward/I've no Tony Award." Ironically, the show's original cast album won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album in 2006 and Ramirez herself won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in 2005. The two awards led to a minor change to the song "The Diva's Lament". Initially, the line became "My Tony Award/won't keep me out of Betty Ford's". When Lauren Kennedy took over for Sara Ramirez, it became "My predecessor won awards/and now she's in Betty Ford's" but was later changed to, "All our Tony Awards/won't keep me out of Betty Ford's." In the touring production, Pia Glenn sings "All our goddamn awards/won't keep me out of Betty Ford's." For a change, Hannah Waddingham in the London production sings "I'm as depressed as I can be/ I've got constant PMT".
The touring production has garnered Boston's Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Visiting Production.
Original Broadway production
Original London production
|2007||Laurence Olivier Award||Best New Musical||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Musical||Tim Curry||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Musical||Hannah Waddingham||Nominated|
|Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical||Tom Goodman-Hill||Nominated|
|Best Set Design||Tim Hatley||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Nominated|
|Best Lighting Design||Hugh Vanstone||Nominated|
A special edition of The South Bank Show was a television documentary on the history of Spamalot. It features numerous segments with Eric Idle and John Du Prez explaining the process of writing the songs, plus interviews with US and UK cast members. It included scenes from the rehearsal of the West End show, and first aired on 15 October 2006.
- Gans, Andrew (21 November 2008). "Spamalot Will Now Close Jan. 11, 2009". Playbill. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
- Schubert Theatre (New York) seating chart
- Colón, Brian S. (ed.), "Popejoy Presents Broadway in New Mexico: The 2007–2008 Season", Popejoy Hall, University of New Mexico, 2007; Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Gans, Andrew."Chamberlain Will Be King in Spamalot Tour in 2009", Playbill, 18 November 2008
- tour information montypythonsspamalot.com. Retrieved 26 February 2009
- Spitzer, Michelle (4 December 2009). "King Center eases concerns over losses". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1A.
- Tour info
- Nina Söderquist Wins Swedish Reality TV Contest to Star in Spamalot, Broadway.com in London, 3 February 2008
- "Spamalot Latest News Monty Python Spamalot in London 2013". Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Shenton, Mark. "Monty Python's Spamalot to Tour U.K. Starting in May; Jodie Prenger Stars" Playbill, 15 March 2010
- Paddock, Terri (16 March 2010). "Jodie Prenger Joins Spamalot, Rhydian Has War". What's On Stage.com. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
- Paddock, Terri (29 March 2010). "Spamalot Crowns Brigstocke, Nicholas’ Pirate King". What's On Stage.com. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- Spamalot UK Tour Cast
- Carley Stenson as Lady of The Lake
- "'Spamalot' brings Python double talk to the Strip". Las Vegas Review Journal. 31 March 2007.
- "Spamalot betting on shelf life". Las Vegas Review Journal. 23 January 2007.
- "Wynn Woos 'Spamalot' West". CBS. 25 July 2005.
- Richard Abowitz, Wynn's 'Spamalot' trade for Danny Gans greeted by collective yawn, Los Angeles Times, 18 April 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
- PR Newswire, Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year Danny Gans Dies at 52, 1 May 2009
- "Casting Announced for Australian Production of Spamalot". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
- The Regals Musical Society, Sydney Spamalot Premiere, 11 May 2009.
- Adelaide Theatre Guide, Monty Python's Spamalot, 18 March 2010.
- "El Rey Arturo y su corte conquistan Madrid en el estreno de SPAMALOT – September 11, 2009". todomusicales.com. 11 September 2009.
- "Spamalot im Musical Dome". Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (in German). 1 August 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- Monty Python's Spamalot – Théâtre Comédia (in French), Artistik Rezo. 25 February 2010.
- "ミュージカル『モンティ・パイソンのスパマロット』 オフィシャルサイト". 5 February 2012.
- "Super Junior's Yesung to star in third musical 'Spamalot'" 10Asia. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2012
- "스팸어랏SPAMALOT" (Korean Language). Play DB. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Monty Python's 40 years of silliness". CNN. 24 October 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- Quickcast Interview with Terry Gilliam by Ken Plume
- Smith, Neil (22 February 2006). "Battle-scarred Gilliam looks to future – Feb. 22, 2006". Time Out.
- "Entertainment News – May 06, 2005". AbsoluteNow.com. 6 May 2005.
- "Lethally Funny Python". herecomethewilddogs.com[dead link].
- "Michael Palin: Interview – Oct. 31, 2006". Time Out. 31 October 2006.
- "John Cleese Loves Spamalot... – May 5, 2008". Time Out. 5 May 2008.
- "We love Spam a lot: Python musical extends run". Chortle: The UK Comedy Guide. 24 June 2006. Retrieved 13 October 2007.
- Anderson, Sam (21 June 2006). "And Now For Something Completely Deficient". Slate.com.
- Spencer, Charles (17 October 2006). "Truly, a knight to remember" (review). The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- Taylor, Paul (17 October 2006). "First Night" (review). The Independent (London).
- Billington, Michael (17 October 2006). "Spamalot" (review). The Guardian (London).
- "Spamalot cast sets coconut record". BBC News. 23 April 2007.
- Hey All You Swedes Out There, Vote for Nina in TV3's (SPAMALOT) West End Star!, UpTone News, 11 January 2008
- Nina lysande i Spamalotsuccé, Expressen.se, 12 February 2008
- A Quest Beyond The Grail, a review of Spamalot from the New York Times (registration required)
- Photos, Videos, Cast Interviews and Information on the West End Production on Theatre.com
- MSNBC/Newsweek interview with Idle and Nichols explaining elimination of some pre-Broadway scenes
- Tim Curry interview from May 2005 from American Theatre Wing Downstage Center, recorded in MP3 format
- Daily Telegraph review of West End version
- Tribute to Richard Chamberlain website Spamalot
- Spot Light Theatre Australia – Spamalot starting 24 July 2009
- Official site
- Spamalot at the Internet Broadway Database
- Spanish production Official Site
- German production Official Site
- Polish production Official Site
- Dutch production official site
- Swedish production official site