Monty Python's Spamalot is a comedic musical
Spamalot's plot follows King Arthur as he journeys to find the Holy Grail. Arthur, travelling with his servant Patsy, recruits several knights to accompany him on his quest, including Sir Bedevere, Sir Robin, Sir Lancelot and Sir Galahad. Along the way, they meet the Lady of the Lake and a host of other odd characters, including Prince Herbert, The French Taunter, Tim the Enchanter, the Black Knight and the Knights who say Ni.
The original Broadway cast included Tim Curry as King Arthur, Michael McGrath as Patsy, David Hyde Pierce as Sir Robin, Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot and other roles (e.g., the French Taunter and Tim the Enchanter), Christopher Sieber as Sir Galahad (and two other roles, heavily concealed), and Sara Ramirez as the Lady of the Lake. It also included Christian Borle as Prince Herbert and other roles (e.g. Historian and Not Dead Fred), Steve Rosen as Sir Bedevere and other roles (e.g., Concorde and Dennis's Mother) and John Cleese as the (recorded) voice of God.
Azaria's roles were taken over by Alan Tudyk starting June 7, 2005; Azaria returned to the cast on December 2, 2005 after working on a new season of Huff. Ramirez left on December 18, to be replaced by Lauren Kennedy, and Simon Russell Beale took over Curry's role as the king on December 20. On April 4, 2006, Azaria and Pierce were replaced by Steve Kazee and Martin Moran, respectively. Beale was replaced by Harry Groener on April 26.
On October 31, Harry Groener will be replaced by Jonathan Hadary and Lauren Kennedy will be replaced by Marin Mazzie.
Original actors such as Michael McGrath (Patsy), Christian Borle (Prince Herbert, Not Dead Fred, Historian), and Steve Rosen (Bedevere, Concorde, Dennis's Mother) are still currently on stage on Broadway.
The US touring cast includes Michael Siberry as Arthur, Jeff Dumas as Patsy, David Turner as Robin, Rick Holmes as Lancelot, Bradley Dean as Galahad, Tom Deckman as Herbert, Christopher Gurr as Sir Bedevere, and Pia Glenn as the Lady of the Lake.
The Court of Camelot
In tribute to the film, where six actors played the majority of all male parts (and a few female ones), several actors play multiple roles; the only major characters not doubling are Arthur and the Lady of the Lake. One actor plays Lancelot, The Knight of Ni, a Sentry, The French Taunter and Tim the Enchanter. Another actor plays Robin, a Sentry, A Guard and Brother Maynard. A third plays Galahad, the Black Knight and The King of Swamp Castle. A Fourth Plays Patsy, the Mayor of Finland and A Guard. A Fifth plays Bedevere, Concord and Mrs. Galahad. And a Sixth plays The Historian, Not Dead Fred, Herbert and Robin's Lead Minstrel.
Previews of the show began in Chicago's Shubert Theatre (now the LaSalle Bank Theatre) on December 21, 2004; the show officially opened there on January 9, 2005 and was practically sold-out. It previewed on Broadway, at New York's Shubert Theatre, beginning February 14, 2005, and, after some changes, officially opened on March 17, 2005. The Broadway previews were practically sold-out, leaving only obstructed view tickets for sale.
Two musical numbers were dropped from Act One while the production was still in Chicago. During the scene set in the "Witch Village," the song "Burn Her!" was originally performed by "Sir Bedevere, The Witch, Sir Robin, Lance and Villagers." At the French Castle, "The Cow Song," in a parody of a stereotypical film noir/cabaret style, was performed by "The Cow and French Citizens." Before the two songs were cut in Chicago, the lead vocals in both songs were sung by Sara Ramirez. This gave her a total of six songs in Act One, but no further appearances until scene five in Act Two, for "The Diva's Lament."
A North American tour of the musical commenced on March 7, 2006, and ran through April 15 at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. The touring production then moved to the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago (April 19, 2006–June 4, 2006), then moved to the National Theatre in Washington, DC (June 6, 2006–July 9, 2006). The tour is currently playing in Toronto and opened on July 12, 2006 at the Canon Theatre, where it will run until September 10.
Starting in Spring 2007, a production of the musical will reside for ten years at the Wynn Las Vegas Broadway theatre, which previously housed a production of Avenue Q.
Announced on 20 January 2006, a London production will open at the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, commencing 2 October 2006 (London premiere 16 October) with tickets on sale from 21 February 2006, booking to 30 March 2007. Tim Curry will reprise his Broadway role as King Arthur until December with Simon Russell Beale taking over from January. Christopher Siebre will also be reprising his role as Sir Galahad. Hannah Waddingham will play the Lady of the Lake, Tom Goodman-Hill will play Sir Lancelot, Robert Hands will play Sir Robin, David Birell will play Patsy, Tony Timberlake will play Sir Bedevere and Darren Southwork will play Prince Herbert.
Critical reception and box-office
The original production has been both a financial and critical success. Variety reported advanced tickets sales of $18 million, with ticket prices ranging from $36 to $101. The advance broke Broadway box office history.
The show proved to be an early success when moving to London's West End. After high advance ticket sales the show's run was extended by four weeks — four months before the show's run commenced. 
Monty Python fans appreciate its many references to the film and other material in the Python canon, including a line from "The Lumberjack Song", nods to the Ministry of Silly Walks, the Election Night Special and Dead Parrot Sketch routines, a rendition of the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from the film Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979), and the "Fisch Schlapping Song" which is a reference to both "The Fish-Slapping Dance" and the song "Finland". Another reference is actually part of the Playbill of the show; there are several gag pages about a musical entitled "Dik Od Triaanenen Fol (Finns Ain't What They Used To Be)".
Broadway musical fans appreciate its visual and auditory references to other musicals and musical theatre in general, such as: "The Song That Goes Like This" (a spoof of Andrew Lloyd Webber productions and many other Broadway power ballads); the knights doing a dance reminiscent of Fiddler on the Roof, as well as a dance reminiscent of West Side Story (complete with music); Sir Lancelot's mimicking of Peter Allen in "His Name Is Lancelot"; the character of Sir Not Appearing in This Show being Don Quixote; a member of the French "army" dressed as Eponine from Les Misérables; and a line pulled from "Another Hundred People" from Sondheim's Company by the "damsel" Herbert. The song "You Won't Succeed (On Broadway)" also parodies The Producers, Yentl, and other Jewish-related shows.
According to a New York Times article on the show published in 2005, Spamalot has somewhat contributed to the diversity of American musical theatre by bringing back the straight white male to audiences. It is not uncommon to see reunions of men's college fraternities and other groups that enjoyed watching Monty Python fare in college attending Spamalot on Broadway.
The original Broadway production received fourteen Tony Award nominations, more than any other show in the 2004–2005 season. It won three of them:
The production's eleven other nominations were:
The show's Tony Awards led to a minor change to the song "The Diva's Lament." Initially, the line "I've no Grammy, no reward/I've no Tony Award" became "My Tony Award/won't keep me out of Betty Ford's." When Kennedy took over for Ramirez, it became "All our Tony Awards/won't keep me out of Betty Ford's." In the touring production, Glenn sings "All our goddamn awards/won't keep me out of Betty Ford's."
The touring production has thus far garnered Boston's Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Visiting Production.
Origin of the title
Idle explained the title in a February 2004 press release about the musical:
On 22 March 2006, to mark the one year anniversary of the official Broadway opening of the show, the "World's Largest Coconut Orchestra" (consisting of 1,789 people clapping together two halves of a coconut shell) performed in Shubert Alley, outside the theatre. The claim was officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The April 30, 2006 episode of The Simpsons featured a reference to Spamalot, as the family attended "Stab-A-Lot: The Itchy and Scratchy Musical", also a spoof of The Lion King. Hank Azaria (Sir Lancelot, Tim the Enchanter, etc.) coincidentally is a regular cast member of The Simpsons, primarily as Moe Szyslak, the bartender.
Act III. Wait... No... Act II