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"Spamalot" at the Ahmanson

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, July 20, 2009, at 01:44PM
Spamalot Joan Marcus / Center Theater Group

Jeff Dumas as Patsy and The Laker Girls in "Monty Python's Spamalot" now playing at the Ahmanson Theater.

"Monty Python's Spamalot" made its Los Angeles debut on July 8th, and opening night encores brought Eric Idle to the stage to take a bow and say the Tony Award-Winning musical is a "Los Angeles play." Reports are that he later recanted at the after-party, held at Downtown's The Standard hotel.

Idle's book and lyrics, and music co-written with John Du Prez, "rips off" Monty Python's film account of the Knights of the Round Table seeking the Holy Grail and adapts for the stage. In the process, it skews Broadway musical –– especially Andrew Lloyd Webber.

For Music Center veterans, that detail isn't lost in this relocation of the New York Broadway production. Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" once played on the same stage for four years for what seemed forever and ever.

For Downtowners, there some regional pride can be had. The Lady of the Lake's entourage are The Laker Girls, giving the iconic dance team a place in showbiz lore.

Reviews of Spamalot at Variety and the Los Angeles Times note you don't have to be a Pythontologist to enjoy the mockery.

Still, to understand why there is a cult of fans, you only had to listen to an audience last week gasp together as one in response to a new line that was a swift bite to Webber's "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" and a certain South Carolina Governor.

The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog would have approved.

Monty Python's Spamalot / July 7 to September 6, 2009 / Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center / 135 N. Grand Ave / Cast includes John O’Hurley as King Arthur, and Merle Dandridge as The Lady of the Lake / Book and lyrics by Eric Idle. Directed by Mike Nichols / Notables: “Monty Python’s Spamalot” is the winner of three 2005 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Director, as well as the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical. The original cast recording of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” won the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.


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