'Python's Spamalot' wows audience
Members of troupe on hand
Friday, March 18, 2005 Posted: 10:47 AM EST (1547 GMT)
NEW YORK (AP) -- More than 30 years after the British comedy troupe Monty Python began tickling funny bones on both sides of the Atlantic, the Broadway debut of "Monty Python's Spamalot" proved fans are still chuckling.
"It's just the absurdity -- and the intelligence," said Mary Mullin, 50, a longtime fan who watched celebrities arrive for the premier outside the Shubert Theater on Thursday night.
The musical, which debuted in Chicago in December and stars Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce and Hank Azaria, is a stage adaptation of the 1975 film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
Opening-night reviews were mostly positive. The New York Times' Ben Brantley called the musical "resplendently silly," and the New York Post's Clive Barnes, in a four-star review, said it was "bloody fantastic."
The Associated Press' Michael Kuchwara said the show mostly succeeds at walking the "precarious line" between pleasing knowledgeable Python fans and everyday audiences.
Director Mike Nichols and his wife, Diane Sawyer, said outside the theater they expected a good opening night.
"It's ready," Nichols told Associated Press Television News. "Everybody in it is sweet and good, and it's a very fine company."
Also on hand was original Python member Eric Idle, who wrote the story and lyrics for the musical and co-wrote the music with John Du Prez. Idle said adapting the original movie script to the stage was "challenging enough."
"As you get older, that's what you like -- a challenge," he told APTN.
The five living members of the original cast -- Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin -- briefly posed for photographs and waved to fans. A sixth member, Graham Chapman, died in 1989.
Other celebrities in the audience included Whoopi Goldberg, Candice Bergen, Steve Martin and Carly Simon.