Spamalot Turns to Swedish Reality TV for New LadyDate: 17 July 2007
The West End productions of The Sound of Music, Grease and, opening tonight, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat have all found their stars via public vote on reality TV, now Spamalot is taking the same approach to cast its next Lady of the Lake – albeit with a Scandinavian rather than British broadcaster.
The nine-part live series West End Story, host by Swedish channel TV3 and devised by Survivor creator Anna Carrfors Brakenhielm, commences in late autumn with open auditions in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo and will culminate in February 2008 when the winner will be announced. Similar to the established UK format, a panel of musical experts, will draw up a shortlist of twelve, with one contestant voted off by the public each week. The final four will fly to London for rehearsals with the Spamalot cast at the West End’s Palace Theatre.
“Lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest to find the religious relic – and features a chorus line of dancing divas (with serfs), flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and a legless knight. The West End cast currently features Hannah Waddingham (pictured) as the Lady of the Lake and, from 23 July, Peter Davison as King Arthur and Bill Ward as Lancelot (See News, 10 Jul 2007).
Spamalot has a book and lyrics by original Python Eric Idle, who has also co-written the music with John Du Prez. The London production, which opened at the Palace on 16 October 2006 (previews from 30 September), reunites the Broadway creative team including director Mike Nichols and set and costume designer Tim Hatley. The three-time Tony Award-winning Spamalot opened in March 2005 at Broadway’s Shubert Theater, where it’s still running.
- by Terri Paddock