If ever there was a need for a show like this, the time is now. Last seen on Broadway in 2005, SPAMALOT, “lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 cult classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, continues the non-stop laughter eighteen years later in this fun-filled, colorful Broadway revival that opened November 16th at the St. James Theater, NYC.
Don’t look for a linear plot – you won’t find it. But once you settle into the Arthurian legend and the search for the Holy Grail, you’ll love the series of sketches and bits. They almost become a form of time travel with one-liners, puns, and references that take you back to when silly fun, was great fun. The quick wit of Eric Idle leads the way with a delicious book & lyrics that’s supported by every style of music in a score by John Du Prez and Eric Idle.
The company is led by Tony Award nominee Christopher Fitzgerald (Waitress) as Patsy, Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin, Hamilton) as King Arthur, Taran Killam (“Saturday Night Live”) as Lancelot, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer (Beetlejuice) as The Lady of the Lake, Tony Award nominee Ethan Slater (SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical) as The Historian/Prince Herbert, Jimmy Smagula (Billy Elliot) as Sir Bedevere, Drama Desk Award winner Michael Urie (“Shrinking,” Torch Song) as Sir Robin and Nik Walker (Hamilton) as Sir Galahad along with David Josefsberg, Graham Stevens, Daniel Beeman, Maria Briggs, Gabriella Enriquez, Michael Fatica, Denis Lambert, Shina Ann Morris, Kaylee Olson, Kristin Piro, Drew Redington, Tyler Roberts, Anju Cloud, Darrell T. Joe, Lily Kaufmann, and Charlie Sutton.
Michael Urie was a standout as Sir Robin who introduced himself as a knight who did not like to fight. He, instead, preferred Broadway, and sang my favorite number of the night. “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” was popular from its inception. But if, like me, you did not see the show in 2005 you were quite surprised in this month of 2023 to hear:
In any great adventure
That you don’t want to lose
Victory depends upon the people that you choose
So, listen, Arthur darling, closely to this news
We won’t succeed on Broadway
If you don’t have any Jews
I daresay the audience gasped, uncertain how to take the irreverent post-October 7 lyric. This reporter applauded, and the number had the roar of the crowd. When a giant, gold Star of David descended from the flies, I all-out cheered.
Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, The Lady of the Lake, killed it across many genres as she encompassed being a romantic storybook princess, a pop-star, and a disgruntled leading lady with the most hysterical “Diva’s Lament”:
What ever happened to my part?
It was exciting at the start
Now we’re halfway through Act 2
And I’ve had nothing yet to do
Of course, the highlight was the finding the Holy Grail. Like most things lost, it was literally ‘right in front of you’ the whole time. Yes, the clue to finding it was D101, which turned out to be the actual orchestra aisle seat 101 in row D. The audience member did not know, when he purchased his ticket, that he would be called upon to be in the show. The Grail was planted under his seat. He was brought up on stage, applauded, sung to, and given his very own cup to take home. When the song finished, since it was Broadway and all, they encouraged him to sing the last note. A great sport, he did, and sang the word: found.
The show ended with the wedding of Arthur and Guinevere, alongside each character getting their happy ending. To celebrate, huge amounts of confetti were released to shower each theater-goer with their own happiness. The audience then participated in a sing-along with the actors onstage, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
In the darkness of these times, joy was found. Can you think of a better way to spend time, than at the theater?
The creative team also includes scenic and projection design by Paul Tate dePoo III, costume design by Jen Caprio, lighting design by Cory Pattak, sound design by Kai Harada & Haley Parcher, wig design by Tom Watson and music direction by John Bell. Casting is by JZ Casting, Matthew Lacey serves as the Production Stage Manager and RCI Theatricals serves as General Manager.
PHOTO CREDITS: Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman, 2023
At St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44 St., New York: spamalotthemusical.com