Everything you need to know about 'Spamalot' on Broadway

Like its source material, the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this Tony Award-winning musical mockery of Arthurian legend is on a quest for laughs.

Joe Dziemianowicz
Joe Dziemianowicz

Grail-force laughter alert! Spamalot, an irreverent spoof of Arthurian legends that won a Best Musical Tony Award in 2005, is back on Broadway just when we could use a reminder from its signature song to “always look on the bright side of life.”

Created by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, the show is based on the much-loved 1975 satire movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There are nutty knights, a mighty diva, flatulent Frenchmen, a bloodthirsty bunny, plenty of puns, and more amusements.

Broadway’s first Spamalot revival arrives directly from a run in Washington, D.C, with much of its stellar cast intact. Just when you need to LOL, the show is here to make your day — and knight. Learn a lot about Spamalot below.

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What is Spamalot about?

In medieval England, newly appointed King Arthur recruits a band of knights to join him on a do-or-die quest for the Holy Grail.

Along the way they encounter oddball characters, bizarre challenges, goofball jokes, self-enlightenment — and come through the adventure in happy, hummable fashion. Well, except the guy who falls victim to the deadly killer rabbit.

Like the cinematic source material, the musical cheekily skewers and celebrates Arthurian legends. The musical also pokes fun at Broadway theatrics. The journey leads to an over-the-top joyous conclusion and not one, but two weddings.

Where is Spamalot playing?

Spamalot is at the St. James Theatre, located at 246 West 44th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. The inaugural show at the theatre nearly a century ago was the 1927 production of the musical The Merry Malones.

How long is Spamalot?

Spamalot runs 2 hours and 20 minutes, including one intermission. This is a typical Off-Broadway and Broadway musical length, though musicals can average anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours. Intermissions are usually 15-20 minutes long.

What days is Spamalot playing?

Spamalot plays eight performances a week, with performances usually scheduled every day except Monday and two performances each on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For the complete performance schedule and showtimes, please visit the Spamalot page.

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When did Spamalot premiere?

The Spamalot musical premiered on Broadway in 2005, three decades after the release of the successful big-screen comedy that inspired it. Discover a full timeline of the show’s history below.

  • 1969: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin form the British comedy troupe Monty Python. The group rose to fame over the next five years for its sketch comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which aired on BBC.
  • 1975: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a big-screen comedy send-up of the Knights of the Round Table created by and starring troupe members, is released. It became a hit.
  • 2004: The musical adaptation of the movie began a pre-Broadway engagement on December 21 at the then-Shubert Theatre in Chicago. Director Mike Nichols’s A-list cast included Tim Curry as Arthur, Hank Azaria as Lancelot, David Hyde Pierce as Robin, Sara Ramirez as Lady of the Lake, and Christian Borle as Prince Herbert.
  • 2005: Spamalot began Broadway performances at the Shubert Theatre on February 14 with the Chicago cast intact. The award-winning run lasted until January 11, 2009.
  • 2006: The first Spamalot U.S. tour launched. Various other national and international productions followed over the years.
  • May 2023: Director and choreographer Josh Rhodes stages Spamalot at the Kennedy Center for Performing Art in Washington, D.C., running May 12 to 23. October 2023: With much of the D.C. cast reprising key roles, the first Spamalot Broadway revival began performances at the St. James Theatre on October 31.

Who wrote Spamalot?

The Spamalot musical features music by John Du Prez and Monty Python founding member Eric Idle. Idle also wrote the book and lyrics. Some songs are lifted from bits in the movie, while the story is “lovingly ripped off” from the motion picture.

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Spamalot characters

The Spamalot characters include various people in medieval England including a newly crowned monarch, his trusty sidekick, knights, a mystical woman with special powers, and an array of villagers (alive, dead, and "not dead yet"), courtiers, wizards, a historian who speaks directly to the audience, and others. Here are the characters at the head of the Round Table in Spamalot.

  • King Arthur: A proud and well-intentioned but comically inept leader on a quest to find the Holy Grail, the chalice used at the Last Supper.
  • Patsy: Arthur’s loyal yet royally underappreciated right hand man. He’s an ace at simulating the sound of hoofbeats by clapping coconuts together.
  • Lady of the Lake: A diva with a strong set of pipes, a backup crew (as in, her Laker Girls), and a powerful connection to Arthur.
  • Sir Lancelot: A fearless knight in Arthur's court. He’s clueless about his own identity until he gets an unexpected wake-up call.
  • Sir Robin: A "fearless" knight who's really a total scaredy cat.
  • Sir Galahad: A knight who’s handsome and dashing — and that’s plenty.
  • Sir Bedevere: Among the knights, he’s the most scholarly — which isn’t saying much.
  • Prince Herbert: A reluctant royal who desperately doesn’t want to marry a woman but appears quite taken with Lancelot.

Who is in the cast of Spamalot?

The Spamalot cast includes several stage favorites, like Christopher Fitzgerald as Patsy, James Monroe Igleheart as King Arthur, Taran Killam as Lancelot (a role Alex Brightman takes over in January), Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer as the Lady of the Lake, Ethan Slater as Prince Herbert, Jimmy Smagula as Bedevere, Michael Urie as Brave Sir Robin, and Nik Walker as Sir Galahad.

Spamalot “gives every one of its principal cast members a chance to shine,” according to New York Theatre Guide’s four-star review. And not just in their main roles — a number of these actors also cover smaller parts.

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Spamalot songs

Du Prez and Idle wrote the bulk of the Spamalot score expressly for the musical, though some songs predate the show. “Brave Sir Robin” and “Knights of the Round Table” were in the 1975 film, while “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is from the 1979 Monty Python movie Life of Brian. Here are all the songs you’ll hear in Spamalot on Broadway.

Act 1

  • “Fisch Schlapping Song”
  • “King Arthur’s Song”
  • “I Am Not Dead Yet”
  • “Come With Me”
  • “The Song That Goes Like This”
  • “All for One”
  • “Knights of the Round Table”
  • “Find Your Grail”
  • “Run Away”

Act 2

  • “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”
  • “Brave Sir Robin”
  • “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway”
  • “Diva’s Lament”
  • “Where Are You?”
  • “His Name Is Lancelot”
  • “I’m All Alone”
  • “The Song That Goes Like This” (Reprise)
  • “The Holy Grail”
  • “Find Your Grail Finale”

What awards has Spamalot won?

The Spamalot musical has earned widespread acclaim and numerous awards since its premiere. Critics and audiences alike praise its clever humor, catchy tunes, and stellar performances. The revival will be up for awards in 2024, but here are all the major awards the original production won.

  • Tony Awards: The show won for Best Musical, Best Director, and Best Featured Actress, and was nominated for 11 additional Tonys, in 2005.
  • Drama Desk Awards: Spamalot won Outstanding Musical, Lyrics, and Costumes, and earned nine more nominations in 2005.
  • Grammy Awards: Spamalot won the award for Best Musical Show Album in 2006.
  • Olivier Awards: The 2007 production of Spamalot in London's West End was nominated for seven Oliviers.

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Major productions of Spamalot

Since its Broadway premiere, Spamalot has received a number of high-profile productions. Here are the most major stagings of the Spamalot musical.

  • Broadway premiere: Director Mike Nichols’s production of Spamalot opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre in February 2005. The run ended on January 11, 2009 after 1,575 performances.
  • West End premiere: Nichols’s staging opened in October 2006 at the Palace Theatre in the West End. Tim Curry and Christopher Sieber reprised their Broadway roles as Arthur and Galahad, and Hannah Waddingham joined as Lady of the Lake. The show closed on January 3, 2009.
  • First national tour: Spamalot's only U.S. tour to date ran from March 2006 to October 2009, making just shy of 100 stops in that time.
  • Kennedy Center revival: Director/choreographer Josh Rhodes’s revival of Spamalot at the Kennedy Center for Performing Art in Washington, D.C. ran May 12-23, 2023.
  • First Broadway revival: Rhodes’s production began performances in October 2023 with much of the D.C. cast.

Fun facts about Spamalot

Did you know that Spamalot was set to repeat its shenanigans in a movie adaptation? Or that RuPaul’s Drag Race inspires a fun moment in the new Broadway revival? And that the title has nothing to do with junk e-mail? Learn more about the musical.

  • Spamalot’s title came about by tweaking a “Nights of the Round Table” lyric: “We eat ham and jam and Spam a lot.”
  • Steve Martin supplies the voice of God in the Broadway revival. John Cleese covered that in the original run.
  • Spamalot isn’t the only Broadway musical that revolves around King Arthur. Lerner & Loewe's Camelot had that covered in 1960, but that's a much less irreverent retelling.
  • An iconic moment from RuPaul’s Drag Race, involving famous drag queen Sasha Velour and rose petals, gets a sly nod in “His Name Is Lancelot.” Keep your eyes peeled for the cascade.
  • A Spamalot movie directed by Casey Nicholaw was on the works, but the project was canceled. Stars reportedly up for roles included Peter Dinklage as Patsy and Tiffany Haddish as Lady of the Lake.
  • Stars are eating up the Spamalot Broadway revival. Ariana Grande, Bowen Yang, and Todrick Hall all checked out the show.

How to get Spamalot tickets

Spamalot is a full-tilt comedy packed with hummable songs that takes familiar stories and churns them into belly laughs. For anyone who’s in the mood for a giggle, and that means everyone, Spamalot will have you in stitches. And looking on the bright side of life.

Get Spamalot tickets now.

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Photo credit: Spamalot on Broadway in 2023. (Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman)

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