A few tips for Monty Python novices and wannabes.
Remember the first time you tried liver? Or asparagus? OK, bad examples. But just like you didn’t have to be Jewish to eat Arnold’s Jewish Rye, you don’t have to be a stuffy, upper-class twit or even a drunken rugby fan to enjoy Spamalot.
“Taste is the enemy of art altogether. I’ve thought about this a lot. People with good taste are constantly worrying about what other people will think. Don’t put that couch over there! It’s the wrong thing to be thinking about because it squashes expression. Of life and vitality of all kinds, and sex – all the funny things!” —Spamalot director, Mike Nichols, New York Magazine
“I haven’t seen the movie so I won’t get the jokes.”
Please note that the Broadway musical Spamalot is only a partial rip-off of the spectacularly low-budget film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This extravagantly over budget musical, on the other hand, features a chorus of hunky men and sexy dancing girls, eye-popping sets, lavish costumes, plenty of new songs and several (extremely tasteful) potshots at theatrical institutions like Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Les Misérables.
“Comedy is about reminding us of the truth of being human: we all have a body and we all must die, and it is okay.” —Eric Idle, BBC News Online
“I can’t take my mom/daughter/sister to Spamalot. It’s really a guy show.”
OK, so your sons and husbands and uncles and grandfathers may know some of the lines by heart already, but Spamalot is so much more than fart jokes and dismembered knights. How about Tony Award-winning direction from Mike Nichols, director of The Birdcage, Working Girl and The Graduate. How about Tony-nominated choreography from Casey Nicholaw of this season’s The Drowsy Chaperone?
“But the Pythons didn’t write good parts for women because they were public schoolboys not used to dealing with ladies.” —The “Seventh Python,” Carol Cleveland, actress in most Python programs/movies/stage shows
…So don’t take our word for it – take theirs!
1973 The original French play La Cage aux Folles written by Jean Poiret premieres at the Theatre du Palais-Royal on February 1. The play starred the playwright Jean Poiret and Michel Serrault. The play ran for almost 1,800 performances. The play was seen by more than one million theatre goers.
1979 French film adaptation of play was directed by Edouard Molinaro. It starred Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault. The film (subtitled “Birds of a Feather” on the US poster) was for many years the most successful foreign film to be released in the US. Unlike many other non-English –language films, the English dubbing was done generally by the original cast.
1980 The French film “La Cage aux Folles II” premiered, also directed by Edouard Molinaro.
1983 The musical La Cage aux Folles opened on August 21 at the Palace Theater on Broadway to great acclaim and popularity. The musical starred Gene Barry and George Hearn.
1985 The French film “La Cage aux Folles III” premiered, directed by Georges Lautner.
1985 The musical La Cage aux Folles opens in Australia and starred Keith Michel and Jon Ewing.
1986 The musical La Cage aux Folles opened in London’s West End starring George Hearn and Denis Quilley.
1996 The American film remake titled The Birdcage directed by Mike Nichols was released, relocated to South Beach, Miami, and starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.
2004 The musical La Cage aux Folles opened again on Broadway on December 9 at the Marriott Marquis Theatre starring Gary Beach and Daniel Davis.
2008 The musical La Cage aux Folles opened again in London but this time at the Menier Chocolate Factory to great acclaim, starring Douglas Hodge and Philip Quast.
2010 Another revival of La Cage aux Folles opened on April 18 on Broadway at the Longacre Theater, starring Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge.
2010 A Dutch production opened in November and is still running.
2011 Tony Award-winning revival of La Cage aux Folles begins touring the United States.