Curry to star in Monty Python musical

Judd Hollander

Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce and Hank Azaria have signed up to star in Monty Python’s Spamalot, the production billed as “the musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail”.

The musical, which is the brainchild of former Python Eric Idle and is based on the 1975 film, will have its world premiere at the Shubert Theatre in Chicago on December 21, 2004, before opening on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on March 10, 2005.

Idle wrote the book and co-wrote the music and lyrics with John Du Prez and Idle. The stage production, directed by Mike Nichols, will feature three songs from the movie – Brave Sir Robin, He’s Going to Tell and Knights of the Round Table – as well as original material. Curry will play the King Arthur role, created on film by Graham Chapman, Hyde Pierce will be Sir Robin and Azaria plays Sir Lancelot.

Promised in the stage production are a chorus line of dancing knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and one legless knight, all of which Idle has promised will be “as good as or quite likely better than any other show with killer rabbits and a legless knight opening on Broadway or in Chicago this season”.

Curry is best known for creating the role of Frank N Furter in the Rocky Horror Show onstage and in the subsequent film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He was Tony nominated for his roles in Amadeus and My Favorite Year on Broadway. Among his film roles are The Hunt for Red October and Charlie’s Angels.

Known for playing Niles Crane in the series Frasier, which recently ended, Hyde Pierce has appeared on Broadway in Christopher Durang’s Beyond Therapy and Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles. His films include The Fisher King, Sleepless in Seattle, Nixon and A Bug’s Life.

Hank Azaria’s most recent stage appearance was in the London production of David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago. He won three Emmy Awards for his numerous roles in the animated television series The Simpsonsand his films include The Birdcage, Great Expectations, Along Came Polly, Cradle Will Rock and Pretty Woman.

Mike Nichols’ direction work has won him six Tony Awards and an Oscar – for the movie The Graduate. In addition to Monty Python, Idle produced the play Pass the Butler in the West End. He was also behind spoof Beatles band The Rutles and its accompanying TV special All You Need Is Cash in 1978. A sequel, called Can’t Buy Me Lunch, will be released in March. Idle recently completed The Greedy Bastard concert tour of the United States.

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