Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?
Monty Python’s Spamalot is a Broadway musical comedy ‘lovingly ripped off’ from the 1975 cult classic motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail, about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table charged by God to seek the holy grail.
Former Python Eric Idle originally wanted to make a sequel movie to The Holy Grail, but the other Pythons were not convinced, so Idle instead decided to make a musical of the original movie. So in 2002 he got together with composer John du Prez to collaborate on a musical score for the show. Eric Idle also wrote the script. Spamalot was directed by Mike Nichols1 and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw.
Previews of Spamalot began at the Chicago Shubert Theatre on 21 December, 2004. On 9 January, 2005 it then officially opened there.
Spamalot opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre in New York City, on 17 March, 2005, after previews since 14 Febuary. It later won the Tony Award for Best Musical.
On 2 October, 2006, Spamalot will open in London at the Palace Theatre.
Origins of the name
‘Spamalot’ is an obvious play on words of ‘Camelot’, and in the Monty Python world, the tinned meat Spam® is of great significance. In the song The Knights of the Round Table, which was featured in both the movie and the musical, when a rhyme for ‘Camelot’ was needed, there was a line that went:
We dine well here in Camelot /
We eat ham and jam and Spam a lot
The original Broadway cast was as follows:
- Tim Curry2 - Arthur, King of the Britons
- Hank Azaria3 - Sir "Lance" Lancelot the Homicidally Brave, The French Taunter, The Knight of Ni, Tim the Enchanter
- David Hyde Pierce4 - Sir Robin the Not Quite So Brave As Sir Lancelot, Guard One, Brother Maynard
- Steve Rosen - Sir Bedevere the Strangely Flatulent, Dennis's mother, Concorde
- Christopher Sieber - Sir Dennis Galahad the Dashingly Handsome, The Black Knight, Prince Herbert's father
- Michael McGrath - Patsy, Mayor, Guard Two
- Sara Ramirez - The Lady of the Lake
- Christian Borle - Historian, Not Dead Fred, French guard, Minstrel, Prince Herbert
One rabbit stew comin' right up!
Spamalot features many of the favourite bits from the movie, including the Killer Rabbit, the Black Knight, coconuts, the Knights Who Say ‘Ni!’, and an intelligent debate on the airspeed velocities and migratory patterns of swallows, both European and African.
Unfortunately, it does not feature the Witch Trial scene, the Three Headed Knight, the Bridge of Eternal Peril or Roger the Shrubber. Instead there are parts in the show that were not featured in the movie, such as the Lady of the Lake. Also, Spamalot ends rather differently from the movie, possibly for the better, because Spamalot's ending is at least more satisfying than the movie's.
Throughout the show, there are a few references to other famous Monty Python sketches such as the Lumberjack Song, the Fish Slapping Dance and the Dead Parrot Sketch, that true Python fans will recognise. There are also spoofs of things from other musicals like Singin' in the Rain, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, and Les Misérables.
All songs lyrics by Eric Idle, music by John du Prez and Eric Idle, except for Finland by Michael Palin, Knights of the Round Table by Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Neil Innes, Brave Sir Robin by Eric Idle and Neil Innes and Always Look On the Bright Side of Life, Eric Idle, solo.
Act I - I said ENGLAND!
- Finland/Fisch Schlapping Dance - A misunderstanding of 'Finland' and 'England'.
- King Arthur's Song - A majestic song sung by Arthur, King of the Britons, lord and ruler of England, Scotland and even tiny bits of Gaul. Reprised in Laker Girl's Cheer.
- Monks Chant/He Is Not Dead Yet - The famous plague village scene. In the movie, the story wandered around for a while until it got to the actual plotline. But in the show, they put this scene to use and introduced Sir Robin, as the body collecter, and Lancelot, as the man disposing of his almost but not quite entirely dead father.
- Come With Me - A ballad sung by the Lady of the Lake. Again, they put to use a scene that originally contributed nothing to the plot. King Arthur proves to Dennis Galahad, a mud stacking peasant, that the Lady of the Lake exists, and that strange women lying around in ponds distributing swords sometimes can be a system of goverment.
- Laker Girls Cheer - The Lady of the Lake's Laker Girls cheer on Dennis to enlist in King Arthur's Army.
- The Song That Goes Like This - A duet between Galahad and the Lady of the Lake. This song tells that once in every show, there is always a song that goes like this.
- He is Not Dead Yet (Playoff) - A catchy army chant.
- All For One - King Arthur has now gathered his faithful Knights of the Round Table. In this 'campfire song' they vow all for one and one for all, though slightly less for people they don't like.
- Knights of the Round Table/The Song That Goes Like This (Reprise) - Elaborate musical number in Camelot. Also featured in the movie.
- Find Your Grail - An inspriational song sung by the Lady of the Lake, to send the knights on their quest.
- Run Away! - After a not so successful attempt to make friends with the French.
Act II - Nobody will go, sir, if its not Kosher then no show, sir.
- Always Look On the Bright Side of Life
- Sung by Patsy and Arthur, while lost in a dark and very expensive forest. This song was originally in another Python movie, Monty Python's Life of Brian.
- Brave Sir Robin - A gory madrigal-type song sung by Robin's Minstrel. Also in the movie.
- You Won't Succeed on Broadway - Sir Robin explains to Arthur in a spoken word song that they can't make it on Broadway without any Jews.
- Diva's Lament (What Ever Happened to My Part?) - The Lady of the Lake complains about the fact that its halfway through Act Two, and she hasn't had a song yet.
- Where Are You? - Sung by Prince Herbert, though rudely interupted.
- His Name is Lancelot - A disco song in which Sir Lancelot finds out that he's a different kind of guy.
- I'm All Alone - Sung by Arthur, and Patsy, though he is completely unnoticed by Arthur.
- Twice In Every Show - A sort of reprise of The Song That Goes Like This sung by Arthur and The Lady of the Lake.
- Act Two Finale - The End.
- Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life - An audience sing-along
Stop it! Stop that! Stop all that singing!
Clop clop clop clop clop clop...
On March 22, 2006, 1,789 people gathered outside Shubert Theatre, clapping together two coconut halves. The 'World's Largest Coconut Orchestra' is officially noted in the Guinness Book of World Records.