The 'bright side of life' can be found on Broadway. Get ready to whistle to 'Spamalot'

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If you’re looking for Broadway to bring joy to your world, head to the St. James Theatre to see the revival of “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”

The musical, full of silliness, fun songs, lots of laughs and a talented cast, arrives almost 15 years after the Tony Award-winning original closed in early 2009. With book and lyrics by Eric Idle, and music by John Du Prez and Idle, the show is “lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 British comedy “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

King Arthur (Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart) is looking to gather knights, with his trusted servant Patsy (Christopher Fitzgerald) by his side. We soon meet (not so) Brave Sir Robin (a perfectly cast Michael Urie), Sir Lancelot (Taran Killam), Sir Galahad (Nik Walker), Sir Bedevere (Jimmy Smagula) and The Lady of the Lake (Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer).

The Broadway revival of "Spamalot" stars Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart as King Arthur.
The Broadway revival of "Spamalot" stars Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart as King Arthur.

On their quest to find the Holy Grail, they encounter a French taunter, a cow, a bunny, dancing girls, some lighthearted human dismemberment, all sorts of Middle Age merriment — and a singalong to the classic "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

If only I could whistle...

Anyone who saw Iglehart as the Genie in "Aladdin" knows this guy is a powerhouse. But while he gets top billing, and has some big moments, he gets overlooked.

That's largely thanks to the supreme force that is Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer. When she belts "Find Your Grail," complete with a "Defying Gravity" ending that is wickedly hilarious, the applause is deafening. Her "Diva's Lament" in Act II proves she's more than just a big voice, with her brilliant comic timing and expressions.

Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer plays The Lady of the Lake in the Broadway revival of "Monty Python's Spamalot."
Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer plays The Lady of the Lake in the Broadway revival of "Monty Python's Spamalot."

Another highlight is the fabulous Ethan Slater, who plays eight (!) parts – everyone from the historian at the start to gay Prince Herbert near the end. The Tony-nominated star of “Spongebob Squarepants” can do no wrong, whether he’s Not Dead Fred, a baby, a nun or a bunny.

As Patsy, the king's servant, Christopher Fitzgerald spends a lot of time tapping two coconuts together to simulate horse trotting. Fitzgerald also plays the mayor and a guard, but he's at his best when Patsy, standing next to the king, reacts as Arthur sings "I'm All Alone."

Many of the actors take on multiple roles. Killam is also the childish and crude French Taunter in Act I (which goes on too long) and the Knight of Ni in Act II; Walker is the unfortunate Black Knight; Smagula is Galahad's mother; and Urie is a guard and Brother Maynard.

Paul Tate Depoo III creates an enchanting Camelot full of surprises with his scenic and projection design. Jen Caprio's costumes range from drab to a rainbow of colors.

Worth seeing? Check out our reviews of current Broadway and off-Broadway shows

Directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes, "Spamalot" gets a few updates to tie in with the news of the day. (No, Congressman Santos, you cannot put a Broadway credit on your resume just because your name appears during the show.)

Rhodes keeps things true to the original — and that's a wise move. Let the songs and and the scenes and the actors do the job. Don't think about it too much and give the audience what they want. His dynamic choreography, though, takes the show to the next level. Act I's "Come With Me," featuring "Laker girls," is a singular sensation.

And, for good measure, Steve Martin is the voice of God (though he's not listed in the Playbill).

OK, here's the moment you've been waiting for. Forget your troubles and think of all the happy days to come this holiday season. Ready? Let's sing it together:

"Some things in life are bad.

They can really make you mad.

Other things just make you swear and curse.

When you're chewing on life's gristle

Don't grumble, give a whistle

And this'll help things turn out for the best

And ...

Always look on the bright side of life.”

Are you whistling? Good! Keep it going!

And if you can't, well, just be like me and sing the chorus over and over.

It's good advice, and it will make you smile.

Go: “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St., $39 to $334; 888-985-9421, Note that Alex Brightman takes over the role of Sir Lancelot beginning Jan. 9, 2024.

Bill Canacci can be reached at

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Spamalot Broadway review: Is the revival show any good?