FACTS ABOUT MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT:
Opened: Original Broadway production - Feb.14, 2005
Genre: Musical, Comedy
Spamalot Director: Mike Nichols
Spamalot Music By: John Du Prez
Spamalot Lyrics and Book By: Eric Idle
Theatre: Shubert Theatre
Tony Award Nominations: 14
Tony Awards Won: 3
Notes: Spamalot has been lauded for its innovative stage designs, and they are quite an undertaking for stagehands. The largest piece of scenery, the Camelot Hanger, weighs 6,000 pounds.
Spamalot has been hailed as one of the most successful musicals of the 2000s and has since grown into a high-grossing national tour with millions of adoring fans. By the early 2000s, the popularity of the classic 1970s English comedy group, Monty Python, hadn't waned in the public consciousness, and longtime Python member Eric Idle and others believed that the time was right for a musical adaptation of the group's unique brand of British comedy. With music by Idle, John Du Prez and Neil Innes and book and lyrics by Idle as well, Spamalot was one of the most highly anticipated original Broadway productions when it debuted on Feb. 14, 2005.
After a brief preview in Chicago in 2004, Spamalot hit the Broadway stage in early 2005 with a dynamic cast including David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria, Tim Curry, Christian Borle and Michael McGrath. The show is based on the classic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but diverges from the theatrical release in a variety of ways. However, many of the classic characters from the film still remain, including King Arthur and his band of knights, the seemingly invincible Black Knight, God (as recorded by Monty Python member John Cleese), the shrubbery-obsessed Knights who say Ni, Tim the Enchanter and, of course, the evil rabbit.
The positive critical reception for the musical allowed Spamalot to collect an impressive 14 Tony Award nominations. The show took home the awards for Best Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Sara Ramirez) and Best Direction of a Musical (Mike Nichols). Although the production didn't get the clean Tony sweep that they hoped for, Spamalot also received multiple Drama Desk Awards that helped the show last for 1,500 performances on Broadway. The show commemorated its first full year on Broadway in March 2006, when 1,789 people gathered in front of the Shubert Theatre to create the world's largest "coconut orchestra," which was confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records. The record was broken one year later by the cast and creators of Spamalot in Trafalgar Square in April 2007 with a crowd of 5,567 people.
Since Spamalot's impressive Broadway run, the show took a brief hiatus and then went on a whirlwind tour throughout North America, as well as a smattering of European countries like Spain, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Poland. The third national tour of the production is set to kick off in 2013 and should continue the silly legacy of one of Broadway's most successful musicals to emerge over the past several decades.