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They Fart in Your General Direction

By Kari Geltemeyer in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 21, 2004 4:16PM

Spamalot from PythOnline's Daily Llama

There’s just nothing cooler than being New York’s pre-Broadway musical comedy whore.

Chicago’s “Spamalot” world premiere try-out bows tonight before moving on to Broadway in March, and pundits from Playbill to USA Today to the New Yorker are weighing in on the potential appeal of another potential “Producers”-size blockbuster.

Of course it helps that, like “The Producers” before it, “Spamalot” hits the stage with a built-in audience that’s kinda familiar with the source material (a little something called “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”) and comes crammed to the gills with recognizable names like Hank Azaria, David Hyde Pierce, and Tim Curry. Throw in director Mike Nichols (he of the current cinematic ick-fest “Closer”) and Python trouper Eric Idle, who wrote the book and lyrics, and expectations are close to sky high. Surely TPTB wouldn’t mind a repeat of “The Producers” critical adoration and coin.

And we plucky Chicagoans are glad to do our part; the instant box office sell-out at the Shubert earned the show a weeklong extension and hearty praise from hometown boy Dave Eggers:

"Yeah, it sold out. I guess it’s running for five weeks in Chicago. But they sold out the run quickly, which made me very proud of my home town. It’s a great theatre town, obviously."

According to the Tribune, we owe the privilege to Idle, whose wife hails from Willow Springs; the show’s producers would’ve preferred Boston.

Chicago’s enthusiasm doesn’t guarantee success for the $11 million production, though; Eggers wonders if anyone but “insomniacs, intellectuals, and burglars” will get it. But we’re pretty sure insomniacs, intellectuals, and burglars are the only ones who matter.

Dec. 21 – Jan. 23
Shubert Theatre
Tickets: Nope, all sold out. But we wish you lots of luck.

Photo from PythOnline's Daily Llama