Way back in 1969, in England, six men decided to make a new kind of comedy, a kind of comedy that included funny sketches, animations, and the silliest walks ever shown on television! Those six men formed “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and from that television series they went on to make some very funny, very silly movies. One of those movies was “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” It was about King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail and became one of Monty Python’s most famous cult classics. Now on Broadway, one of the original members of the Flying Circus, Eric Idle, has written an adaptation for the stage called “Spamalot”. It is based on the Holy Grail and promises to be one the biggest hits on Broadway in a while!!
“Spamalot” had a trial run in Chicago’s Shubert Theater from December 21, 2004, to January 23, 2005 with high hopes for the spring season in New York. The show came to NY for previews starting Valentine’s Day 2005, and opened on Saint Patrick’s Day 2005 to great reviews and huge ticket sales. In its first week after opening, the play made $2 million in ticket sales. Advance sales, before the show even opened, were at $18 million, and on one day they even sold $300,000!!!
For those familiar with “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, this play is a “rip-off” of the original, complete with killer rabbits and legless fighting knights, and even has the knights who say “Ni”, who request a shrubbery! The movie’s budget back in 1975 was $400,000, which was not a very large amount of money for a movie, so it was easily adapted from the screen to the stage. There was not a lot of theater production costs; using coconuts instead of horses really paid off! The actors on the stage play multiple roles, so that helped keep costs down as well. As a matter of fact, it cost more for the lawyers working on the stage production, than the cost of the whole screen version! The one thing the movie had that the play didn’t have was a good female role, so Idle came up with one, “The Lady of the Lake”, which promises to be very funny!
Opening night in New York was a huge success. The rest of the Monty Python family, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam were in the audience, as well as Eric Idle. They had only good things to say both about the written play (while it was being produced) and about the production itself. They thought it was funny, witty, with good music and lyrics and were happy to see the project actually go from a planning stage to a full-fledged musical. At this point, it is very hard to get tickets, a ticket limit has been implemented such that only 10 tickets can be sold to any one person in a seven-day period, AND, they can expect to wait about four weeks for them to arrive in the mail!
There are some very famous actors playing on stage. They include Tim Curry, from “Rocky Horror Picture Show” fame, David Hyde Pierce, who played Niles on television’s “Frasier”, and Hank Azaria, who had many famous roles, including many of the voices on “The Simpson’s”. Tim Curry plays King Arthur, but Pierce and Azaria have multiple roles to help defray the cost of the show! The director, academy award winner Mike Nichols, was all to pleased to be helping with the success of the play. Spamalot promises to be a huge Broadway hit! Get your tickets now while you can!