Monty Python’s Spamalot

I am an admittedly huge fan of Monty Python, so when I heard that my friend had been able to get us tickets to the sold out Spamalot I was more than excited. I had dreams filled with bunnies, knights and shrubberies.

Upon walking into the Shubert Theatre on West 44th, I was already amazed. Sure, the theatre is beautiful, but the first glance at the stage sets up some Monty Python goodness to let you know you’re in for a special treat. If you have ever seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, or any Monty Python for that matter, you know exactly what I am talking about. The clouds are perfect Monty Python Clouds floating above a perfect Monty Python Gate.

For those of you not in the know, Spamalot is a musical adaptation of the most successful of the Monty Python adventures, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). It follows the adventures of King Arthur (Tim Curry) as he gathers his Knights of the Roundtable in order to find the Holy Grail, a quest set before them by God (recorded by John Cleese). Among the Knights of the Roundtable you will find the unforgettable Sir Robin (David Hyde Pierce) and the sexually ambiguous Lancelot (Alan Tudyk). And unlike a mere mention in the film, the Lady of the Lake (Sara Ramirez) has a presence in the musical.

Many of the best scenes from the movie made it into this stage adaptation, including the Black Knight, the taunting French Guard (Alan Tudyk), and the Killer Rabbit. Several were left out entirely such as the Bridge of Death and the female spanking enthusiasts. But have no fear, in the two hours and twenty minutes of musical comedy there are some new bits. There are jokes made at the expense of other musicals from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work to Mel Brooks’ The Producers or the presence of Jews on Broadway, and references to Monty Python sketches. They have added the kitschy love ballads and diva songs to further flesh out the bones with which they started. And the singing is amazing. There is not a weak note in the entire production. Sara Ramirez is probably the strongest vocally and does a great Liza Minnelli.

Even the playbill paid homage to Monty Python with billing for a mock musical about Finland that will tickle you if you have ever paid attention to the credits for The Holy Grail.

Directed by Mike Nichols with music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle, Spamalot is not simply a tribute to pop culture. It is crafted in a way that those who haven’t had the privilege of experiencing Monty Python before will enjoy it as much as the biggest Pythonite. The sets and costumes were spot on, which is one of the advantages to an $11 million budget, that allow the audience to roar with laughter at the mere appearance of a character on stage.

If you want to see Spamalot, don’t expect to find tickets easily. It has been sold out since taking home the 2005 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, and Best Direction of a Musical. But do stop by the official website to see even more Spammy Goodness.

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