I have been to Spamalot...

…and it is a silly place.

The show has been running for a month in New York, and several weeks before that in Chicago, and I’m surprised to see so few posts about the show. So, I thought I’d offer my five cents – er, two – for the benefit of Doperkind.

Spoilers follow, but I’ll try to be vague.

As a fan but not a fanatic of Monty Python, I was impressed and entertained with the show in and of itself, but I paid more than $30 to sit in the third row from the back in the balcony, so I can only imagine the cost of a good ticket. The Shubert has pretty good sightlines, though, with both house levels crammed as close as possible to the stage.

I also have to wonder how good I would have felt about the expenditure if I hadn’t seen Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce and Hank Azaria. They added a great deal to the experience and made me believe I wasn’t just sitting through some kind of pointless tribute show.

I was surprised to see what parts of the film were cut. Mike Nichols said in an article in Entertainment Weekly that “when you get down to it, burning someone at the stake just isn’t that funny,” and he wasn’t kidding. The entire “She’s a witch!” sequence is gone. Castle Anthrax with its “naughty, naughty” maidens? Completely cut. The Bridge of Doom was also cast into the chasm.

These gaps are filled with some new gags and surprisingly catchy songs, as good as anything as Forbidden Broadway has cooked up recently. And there’s still plenty of familiar fun, performed with either precision mimicry of the film, or new takes that breathe some new life into them: the French taunters, the “You don’t vote for king” bit, the Killer Rabbit.

Eric Idle said that the film had no real plot and no real ending, and that the musical fixed those problems, but… well, the musical has no real plot and no real ending. Some interesting character arcs are set up in the first act, and then completely forgotten. The weak love story is kind of an afterthought – though that itself is mocked; the whole show ends up eating itself, like the film did.

So, if you’re going to New York, you like Python and/or the actors (though Curry seemed to still be in rehearsal mode, giving only about 60%) and prefer not to see Christina Applegate in Sweet Charity, this is a fun and funny two hours. Even the Playbill is funny. With the above cuts, the comedy isn’t really mean-spirited anymore, and the audience I was with reminded me of seeing the Star Wars prequels on opening day; a communal experience of “isn’t it great to experience all this again?” At the very least, buy the soundtrack when it becomes available on May 3rd. Eric Idle co-wrote the songs, and they’re both melodic and comic.

Those are my thoughts. Questions? Disagreements? All are welcome.

I dub thee, Sir Jason the Vague.

(wacks Sir Jason with a huge sword while waving to the crowd)

P.S. I envy you for seeing the show. I saw a clip of it and they were all signing “Look on the Bright Side of Life.” Isn’t that from Life of Brian?

“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is indeed in the show, and doesn’t really feel out of place. I suppose Eric Idle & company figured there would never be a Life of Brian musical, so why not include its only song? Plus, Idle wrote it himself so he could do whatever he wanted with it. And you have to admit, it’s catchy.

I just got the CD, since I probably can’t get to New York soon. Can’t get “The Song That Goes Like This” out of my head…

I just found out this afternoon that I have to go to New Jersey for a training class next week. At first, I was all pissed off at the sudden notice, the fact that New Jersey was mentioned(kidding!), and the general ineptitude that constantly permeates my workplace. After fuming for a little while, I reflected on what one is to do with one’s self in the greater New York City area. And then it dawned on me (eventually), Go To Spamalot!
So, how do I get from Montvale, NJ to Spamalot in 3 hours or less on a Thursday? Without a vehicle of my own? Like I’d try driving in NY again!

Here is the New Jersey Transit website. There’s a map of the rail lines here. The Pascack Valley Line (in purple on the map, schedule in PDF here) has a stop in Montvale, but unfortunately there are no trains to NYC in the afternoon. What you could do is take a cab to Ramsey on the Main Line / Bergen County Line (yellow on the map, schedule in PDF here). The cab ride’s about 5 miles (depending on where in Montvale your course is located), so should not be too expensive. There’s a train leaving Ramsey at 5:48 pm for instance – could you make that? You’ll need to transfer at Secaucus Junction, and the connecting train will get you to New York’s Penn Station (34th St between 7th & 8th Aves) at 7:05pm. Spamalot is playing at the Shubert Theater (44th Steet between 7th & 8th Aves) at 8pm, so you’ve got almost an hour to either walk 10 blocks – about 0.5 miles – or take the subway.

Going back to Montvale, you could do the same in reverse (trains leave Penn Station at 11:09pm, 11:42pm, 11:54pm and 12:42 am, getting into Ramsey about an hour later). You might want to pre-arrange a cab to get you from Ramsey to your Montvale hotel. Alternatively, there’s a train leaving Penn Station at 10:44pm that will get you to Montvale itself (see the Pascack Valley line link above), but that might really be pushing it timewise (I’m assuming that Spamalot is about 2.5 hours long?).

[It’s just struck me that you might have a car available, but just not want to drive it to NYC. In that case, of course, you can just drive to Ramsey. There are two stations there; downtown on Main Street, and Route 17 (parking probably easier at the latter).]

Round-trip off-peak fare from Ramsey to NYC Penn Station: $11.50. Cab (if applicable): probably a few bucks each way. Seeing Spamalot: priceless.

Certainly beats driving and parking!

I thought Spamalot was sold out for months to come. Or doesn’t that really mean it’s sold out?

I just returned from a trip to New York, where I got to see Spamalot! I’m not a big fan of Monty Python either and I thought they did a fabulous job of adapting the movies into this play. Tim Curry was not there for the performance I saw, which was a crushing crushing disappointment, but his understudy, John Bolton, did a terrific job anyway, and I found myself wondering if Mr. Curry would have done as well. (Like I would have cared. Mr. Curry is hot!)

Sara Ramirez, as the Lady of the Lake, made me redefine what I mean when I say someone is talented. That woman was so stuffed with talent that she probably has to plug up her bodily orifices to keep it from pouring out like…well, just pouring out.

David Hyde Pierce and Hank Azaria and the rest of the cast were also superb, natch.

OOOh! Forgot one more thing: Does anyone know if the Grail is always found in the same place?

Having never seen the Monty Python series or any of their films, I found Spamalot to be mildly entertaining. I only went because of great seats and free tickets. You could tell who the Monty Python fans were in the audience because they laughed like their heads were going to explode, while the rest of us just smiled.

And Jason G, you should be able to make the 10:44 train from Penn Station that Antonius Block mentioned. I was able to make the 10:41 train.

I went to Spamalot on Sunday. It is a silly place. I loved it. I am a MP fan from way back.

Wheelie, do be aware that you can’t just walk up to the box office & buy a ticket – these shows sell out.

I wondered the same thing, and my friend and I are of the opinion that it is, since there is stage set material AND dialog involved.

Just got to the hotel after 11 hours of traveling. I might go if I can get a ticket agency to leave a ticket in will call or something. The way I’ve hemmoraged money today, that might not happen.
$175 plus fees, etc. for a nosebleed seat (which was $36 originally), $515 for front row ($105). :rolleyes:
'Tis a silly and expensive place.

Is there a version of the show for those *not *hard of hearing?

Congrats to Spamalot for pulling in 14 Tony nominations, including Pythonite Eric Idle (Book and Score), Mike Nichols (Director), Hank Azaria & Tim Curry (Lead Actor), Michael McGrath & Christopher Sieber (Featured Actor), Sara Ramirez (Featured Actress), and Best Musical of course. David HP is MIA though.

Saw it last night, and my friend (a non-Pythonite who loved the show anyway) and I are debating the exact same question.

Better put tags up, because I want to know if the experience is exactly the same for everyone - so if you’ve also seen the show, let’s compare notes.

The grail was found in seat C101. I don’t know if there really is such a seat at the Schubert. A dark-haired woman got up on stage. She said her name was (I think) Susan something… and she added that she was Jewish.

It might have been carefully calculated not to seem scripted. When she tried to go back stage with the rest of the cast, I was leaning toward thinking she was planted in the audience. But the only way to know for sure is to see the variety of Spamalot experience - if there is any - at the end of the show.

Sorry to resurrect an aging thread… didn’t think we’d need a whole new Spamalot thread, though.

It was A101 when I attended.

When I went, it was a seat towards the front (maybe front row) to the right. It was a young man (also Jewish).

I thought the show was cute, but that’s about it. The Times review pretty much summed it up for me: “That Spamalot is the best new musical to open on Broadway this season is inarguable, but that’s not saying much. The show is amusing, agreeable, forgettable.”

Tim Curry and Sara Ramierez were wonderful, though—it’s nice to hear voices that don’t need to be miked!

I’m so glad I got out of that profession. Sara Ramierez wins a Tony and is the toast of the town, but what happens after this show closes? There just aren’t that many good roles, she has to start over at Square One. Look at Faith Prince, Donna Murphy—both of them brillant, and begging for parts.

I’m going to see the show in August. Hopefully all the big names will still be there, especially Tim Curry, whom I’ve been in love with since Rocky Horror. I saw Sara Ramirez perform at the Tonys and she sounded fantastic!

As for getting tickets: First I tried Telecharge and they said the show was sold out til September. So I checked a ticket agent online and they had 2 seats (row F, I think) for $300-something (combined, not each) - yeah we got ripped off, but it was either that or no Spamalot. :frowning: Anyway, my mother is dying to see the show and it’s for her birthday so we shelled out the money. I’ll be sure to pay attention to where they find the grail.