Previewing in Chicago before its Broadway opening, Spamalot is Eric Idle and John Du Prezs new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. From the opening number, a brilliantly costumed Scandinavian clog dance (the narrator said, England, not Finland) to the Las Vegas wedding chapel finale, Spamalot devastatingly satirizes every Broadway musical ever staged.
The sold-out house consisted of 20-somethings, families, and a few seniors who remain loyal to the daffy British humor of the original Monty Python cast. We still love John Cleese in Fawlty Towers reruns, Dame Edna, Benny Hill and the evolving new comedy on BBC. The British are often perceived as having no sense of humor, but Spamalot represents the epitome of Moral outrage transformed into comic art. Philip Roth
Tim Curry is King Arthur; David Hyde Pierce is Sir Robin, Villager 1, Guard 1, and Brother Maynard; and Hank Azaria plays Sir Lancelot, Villager 3, The French Taunter, Tim the Enchanter and Knight of Ni. The multi-talented Sara Ramirez is The Lady of the Lake, The Witch and the Cow. Christopher Sieber as Sir Dennis Galahad joins her in The Song That Goes Like This, a biting look at Andrew Lloyd Webbers Phantom of the Opera complete with a chandelier that explodes at the end of the song. The English may have qualms when writing another score.
The talented cast plays the dead of Les Mis…, the Knights of the Round Table, Villagers, Guards, Show Girls, Cheerleaders, Monks, Nuns, and of course, the Killer Rabbit. From the moment King Arthur appears with his loyal servant clapping the coconut shells, the audience is enthralled.
Playing until Jan. 23 in Chicago, this is the hottest ticket in town. Spamalot will begin previews at Broadways Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th St., on Feb. 14, 2005, and will open in New York March 17, 2005. You might get a ticket by calling (312) 902-1400 in Chicago. Otherwise, plan a trip to New York.