Memorial Auditorium, Progress Energy Center—Boasting road-tested humor and silliness, the Broadway musical Spamalot has been "lovingly ripped off" from the cult classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail by original Python Eric Idle. With a creative team that includes composer John Du Prez, who collaborated with Idle on the music, and superstar director Mike Nichols, Spamalot won a Tony for Best Musical in 2005. Speaking by phone from Birmingham, Ala., N.C. School of the Arts alumnus Gary Beach, who recently joined the tour in the lead role of King Arthur, says "jumping into a leading role is like running alongside a railroad train."
Beach, who rides an invisible horse in Spamalot, is no stranger to eccentricity. He won a Tony for his Roger DeBris in Mel Brooks' The Producers, where he impersonated Hitler mimicking Judy Garland—a choice Beach himself brought to the celebrated "Springtime for Hitler." Beach also received a Tony nomination for his roles as the candelabrum Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast and as the tender Albin in La Cage aux Folles (played by Nathan Lane in Nichols' 1996 film).
"It's good to be the King," Beach says. "Every time you walk onstage, people stand up." In a world that closely parallels the classic absurdity of the 1975 film—complete with taunting Frenchmen and the Knights of Ni (who say "ni")—Spamalot ranks high on antics. "The plot is ice thin," Beach says, "but there is a plot there." —Megan SteinSpamalot runs through Sunday, April 20. Visit www.broadwayseriessouth.com or call 831-6060 for info.