Make way for shrubbery: “Spamalot” is returning to Broadway.
The show, a Monty Python-inspired spoof of Arthurian legend, first opened on Broadway in 2005, won the Tony Award for best musical, ran for four years, and has been widely staged since then.
This new production, which had a 10-day run in May at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, will be the musical’s first Broadway revival.
Previews are scheduled to begin Oct. 31, and the opening is set for Nov. 16 at the St. James Theater. The executive producer will be Jeffrey Finn, who is the Kennedy Center’s vice president of theater producing and programming.
“I have been a crazy fan of ‘Spamalot’ since I saw the opening in 2005,” Finn said. “I feel as though in 2023, audiences are really looking for a fun escape and an opportunity to laugh as much as possible, and I believe this show delivers all of that.”
The casting for Broadway has not yet been announced; at the Kennedy Center the cast included Alex Brightman, James Monroe Iglehart, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, Rob McClure, Matthew Saldivar, Jimmy Smagula, Michael Urie and Nik Walker.
The musical, based on the screenplay for “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” features a book and lyrics by Eric Idle, who was a member of the Monty Python comedy group. The music is by Idle and John Du Prez. Reviewing the original production, The New York Times critic Ben Brantley called it “resplendently silly” and a “fitful, eager celebration of inanity.”
The revival is directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes, who will be making his Broadway directing debut; he has worked on Broadway as a performer and choreographer. (Rhodes’s husband, Lee Wilkins, was a replacement swing in the original “Spamalot” company.)
Rhodes described “Spamalot” as “a beautiful satire of Broadway, and of the class system,” and said he is excited to introduce Monty Python to a generation of theatergoers who may be unfamiliar with the group’s history and work. “In D.C., there was some sort of incredible energy from the audience that made us realize people were so hungry for this material,” he said. “There was a rowdiness that maybe wasn’t there before, and made it feel very special.”
The “Spamalot” revival will be the first production developed by the Kennedy Center’s Broadway Center Stage program to transfer to Broadway; Finn created the program in 2018, and it has evolved from presenting semi-staged concert versions of existing musicals to presenting fully staged, but short-run, productions. The Kennedy Center had a previous history of nurturing work that transferred to Broadway; the last Kennedy Center-produced transfer was a 2014 revival of “Side Show.”
A few years ago a movie version of the musical was in the works, but Paramount Pictures, which held the rights to produce it, is no longer pursuing the project, and Idle suggested on Twitter earlier this year that that the film adaptation had been killed.