SPAM (noun) 1 a canned food product by Hormel consisting primarily of pork formed into a solid block:
2 a distruptive commercial message posted on a computer network or sent as e-mail; 3 a brief irrelevant joke in the motion picture “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” that has found itself in the title of a ridiculous twists of fate (including the whims of a billionaire casino owner), gets its local theater premiere at the most imaginative and beloved theaters in the Sierra Foothills.
First there was “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” a sketch comedy that aired on the BBC from 1969 to 1974. The “Pythons,” as the six cast members are known, are oxford alums Michael Palin and Terry Jones, Cambridge grads John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle, and Minnesotan animator Terry Gilliam. (Gilliam attended Occidental College, making it arguably the Cambridge – or Oxford - of California.) The Pythons wrote everything and performed almost all roles, male and female, accompanied by Gillian’s eccentric animation.
The first Python film was “And Now for Something Completely Different,” which was released in 1971 and was basically retreads of favorite “Flying Circus” sketches directed by an outsider. So although it was called “And Now for Something Completely Different,” it wasn’t, actually, different at all. When the Pythons next decided to make a film, they thought best to do less of a rip-off. The movie would be all new material, be a complete story from start to finish instead of a collection of sketches, and be co-directed by Pythons Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, although neither had directed a film before. That film, considered by many the first true Python movie, was “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
But we don’t have room to prattle on about the movie or TV show. You’ll have to go to Wikipedia. Perhaps if you are really interested you could order “Monty Python: Almost the Truth- The Lawyers Cut” from Netflix. It’s a six-part documentary that ran on IFC network in 2009. It’s got all the juicy gossip. …
Idle is also the mind behind Monty Python’s Spamalot, which brags that is “lovingly ripped off” from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Although adapted from the film, with all of the good bits included, Idle takes full advantage of the entire Python canon, including the absurdist yet fan-favorite Fish Slapping scene from the TV series and lifting the song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from the film “The Life of Brian.” And while the musical fully embraced theatrical conventions and Broadway traditions, it mines them mercilessly for new jokes and outrageous sight gags.
Spamalot opened on Broadway in 2005 and ran for 1,575 performances before closing in 2009. The original New York cast included a host of tourist bait including Hank Azaria (Sir Lancelot), Tim Curry (King Arthur) and David Hyde Pierce (Sir Robbin). The production was directed by Mike Nichols, the Tony, Grammy, Oscar and Emmy Award winner (one of only 12 people to win all four). The production received 12 Tony Award nominations, winning three including best musical.
The first national tour of Spamalot opened in spring 2006 and wound around the country playing all the major cities – except L.A., San Francisco, Phoenix, Sacramento … and Placerville. Las Vegas casino operator, Steve Wynn secured the exclusive rights to present a 90-minute version of the show and blocked the complete production in the southwest. The Vegas production closed after 16 months which cleared the way for the national production to be produced regionally. Spamalot made its regional premier at Music Circus in Sacramento in May of 2010 as it’s 500th production presented in the round.
Imagination Theater is thrilled that we are able to present this wonderfully funny show to you, locally, in the rectangular. Tickets are now available for this zany Python comedy! Order them today!