After this month’s leading man transatlantic swap for Les Miserables (See News, 6 Sep 2007), Spamalot is following suit with its leading Ladies of the Lake. From 14 January 2008, Marin Mazzie (pictured) will join the London cast of the Monty Python musical at the West End’s Palace Theatre in the role she’s currently playing at the Shubert Theater in New York, while Hannah Waddingham will fly to the US for her Broadway debut beginning performances there on 17 January.

Marin Mazzie is no stranger to London, having made her West End debut in Kiss Me Kate at the Victoria Palace six years ago (See News, 8 Aug 2001), receiving a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. In addition to playing the Lady of the Lake in the Broadway production Spamalot, her other credits include Ragtime, Passion, Man of La Mancha, Into the Woods, Kismet and The Vagina Monologues. She’s been nominated for three Tony Awards, for Kiss Me Kate, Ragtime and Passion.

Meanwhile, as previously reported See News, 17 Jul 2007), a nine-part live TV series in Sweden, West End Story commences in late autumn, with the aim of finding and casting Mazzie’s successor as the Lady of the Lake in the London production. Open auditions have been held in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo ahead of the series with the competition finishing in February 2008 when the winner will be announced.

Spamalot is “lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail and tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest to find the religious relic – along the way featuring a chorus line of dancing divas (with serfs), flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and a legless knight.

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 reunited the Broadway creative team including director Mike Nichols and set and costume designer Tim Hatley, celebrates its first London anniversary on 17 October 2007 and is currently booking until 1 March 2008.

The current London cast is led by Peter Davison as King Arthur, Bill Ward as Lancelot, Robert Hands (as Sir Robin), Steven Kynman (Herbert), Graham MacDuff (Sir Dennis Galahad), Andrew Spillett (Patsy) and Tony Timberlake (Sir Bedevere).

- by Tom Atkins