Harken up, ye one n'all: the Tony Award-winning Best Musical of 2005, "Monty Python's Spamalot," visits the fair city of Alto for one performance only Monday, February 25 at 7 p.m. at the simply lovely, state-of-the-art Spencer Theater. Excellent seats are available for $79 $76. Call the Spencer Box Office at 575.336.4800 or go online to www.spencertheater.com for tickets.
Adoringly "ripped-off" from the internationally famous comedy team's 1975 cult classic, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," "Monty Python's Spamalot" is the winner of three 2005 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Director (Mike Nichols), as well as the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Musical. Actress Sara Ramirez, the original "Lady of the Lake," now better known as Dr. Callie Torres on TV's "Grey's Anatomy," won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
The original cast recording of "Monty Python's Spamalot" also won the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
The much anticipated Phoenix Entertainment touring production, which loads into the Spencer in the wee hours of the morn' February 25th, stars a cast of 25 actors plus orchestra musicians. Of special note, the play's character "Patsy" who follows King Arthur everywhere, clacks the coconuts for the horse's hooves and - as well as sings the show's hit song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," - is Glenn Giron, a native of Santa Fe!
Once the fish are slapped and horses are heard galloping through the hall, patrons get a gleeful dose of dancing divas, flatulent Frenchmen, flying cows, a giant killer rabbit, a legless knight, a hilarious score and, of course, a quick but entertaining nod to the meat product from which the show gets its name (somewhat a play on the legendary Camelot) as the motley crew of knights search for the mythical cup.
Wacky action for sure, but as critics herald, much of the extreme, off-the-wall farce is steeped in intelligent references to popular Broadway, English literature and world history - and that has proved immensely satisfying throughout the land.
The Broadway musical was spearheaded by original Python member Eric Idle in 2005, and with the hilarious music and lyrics by Idle and John Du Prez, as well the riotous choreography of Casey Nicholaw and Mike Nichols' masterful direction, it was a sure-fire hit. Idle developed the book, which was loosely based on the screenplay of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" by Monty Python creators Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. (By the way, Monty Python isn't a person, but a group of British actors and writers, including one American, that performed their famous comedy show "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on the BBC from 1969 to 1974, with subsequent international fame and success).
This huge touring production appearing at the intimate, 500-seat Spencer, involves the theater's temporary hiring of 60 additional stage hands and backstage crew (electricians, carpenters, riggers, wardrobes and cook) to load-in the sets off of three 18-wheelers of sets and to later strike those sets; prepare costumes and wigs, cook meals for the actors and touring crews, and to run technical equipment errands.
About the creators:
Mike Nichols has been acclaimed as one of the great American directors in film, theater and television. He has won the Academy Award and eight Tony Awards. He received the Directors' Guild of America Award for Lifetime Achievement as well as a DGA Award for the direction of the HBO adaptation of "Angels in America."
Casey Nicholaw's outstanding work on "Monty Python's Spamalot" earned him nominations for the Tony Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award. He recently won the 2011 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his work as co-director of "The Book of Mormon." His other Broadway credits include "Elf" and "The Drowsy Chaperone," for which he earned numerous nominations as director and choreographer.
Aside from his work with Monty Python in films and on TV, Eric Idle has written a West End play, "Pass the Butler"; three novels, including "The Road to Mars,"" The Rutles - A Mockumentary"; and many songs too rude to mention. He has sung opera, acted in movies, appeared on television and crossed America performing comedy on "The Greedy Bastard Tour". His diary of his 15,000 mile journey by bus was recently published by Harper Collins, and his long awaited sequel "The Rutles2: Can't Buy Me Lunch" was released by Warner Video last March. There's no saying what he might do next...
John Du Prez has composed over 20 feature film scores including "A Fish Called Wanda," "A Private Function," "The Meaning of Life," "Personal Services," "UHF," and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" - I, II & III. He has worked with Eric Idle since 1978.