Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Broadway Center Stage: Monty Python's Spamalot
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's recent reviews of Good Bones and Here There Are Blueberries

Matthew Saldivar and James Monroe Iglehart
Photo by Jeremy Daniel
Once again, the Kennedy Center's Broadway Center Stage series is raising the quality of its productions beyond the program's original aim–semi-staged performances of musicals with talented visiting performers, using scripts if needed–with a riotous production of Monty Python's Spamalot. It's a must-see, but it runs only through May 21, so get tickets now.

Spamalot, which received the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical, is an extravaganza of silliness and spectacle "lovingly ripped off" from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail by Monty Python member Eric Idle (book, lyrics, and co-composer with John Du Prez). It not only romps through the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, but also examines the traditions of musical theater, including a few call outs to specific productions (such as the staging of a song titled "The Song That Goes Like This") and a lot of self-referential moments.

Director and choreographer Josh Rhodes has packed this production with nonstop movement and a company led by some of Broadway's most accomplished farceurs. James Monroe Iglehart is a dominating presence as King Arthur, who holds onto his dignity as all manner of nonsense unrolls around him. Alex Brightman is hilarious as slightly crazed Sir Lancelot, whose chivalric acts get a bit excessive at times and who eventually gets his own sequin-encrusted production number. Michael Urie is the wide-eyed Sir Robin, whose knowledge of Broadway lore as opposed to military tactics leads to the triumphant final curtain. Rob McClure takes on many roles, including a stuffy history professor, a dying man who refuses to die, and a sweet-natured prince whose family lives in a swamp. Matthew Saldivar is adorably long-suffering as King Arthur's servant Patsy, while Nik Walker ably plays both godly Sir Galahad (first name Dennis) and a blustering knight.

And then there's Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer as the Lady of the Lake, the diva who gave Arthur his kingdom and then has to spend much of the second act offstage. She gets the most eye-popping costumes (original design by Tim Hatley, coordinated by and additional design by Jen Caprio) and powers through her songs. The women of the chorus ("Laker Girls") also live up to the show's concept of Camelot as a place not unlike Las Vegas.

Rhodes dispatches his actors on a set adapted from Hatley's original by Paul Tate dePoo III. Much of the scenic scope comes from dePoo's lavish use of projections, from a massive iron gate (billed as the Mighty Portcullis) to shimmering night skies and abstract forms in deep jewel tones. Completing the effect are Cory Pattak's lighting design and Haley Parcher's sound design.

Music director John Bell conducts members of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra from a bandstand raised above the castle walls.

The Broadway Center Stage production of Monty Python's Spamalot runs through May 21, 2023, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Eisenhower Theater, 2700 F St. NW, Washington DC. For tickets and information, please call 800-444-1324 or 202-467-4600 or visit

Directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes
Music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle
Book and lyrics by Eric Idle
A musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" From the original screenplay by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin
Music director: John Bell

Historian, Not Dead Fred, Baby, Nun, Minstrel, Prince Herbert, Bunny: Rob McClure
Mayor, Patsy, Guard 2: Matthew Saldivar
King Arthur: James Monroe Iglehart
Sir Robin, Guard 1, Brother Maynard: Michael Urie
Sir Lancelot, the French Taunter, Knight of Ni, Tim the Enchanter: Alex Brightman
Sir Dennis Galahad, the Black Knight, Prince Herbert's Father: Nik Walker
Dennis's Mother, Sir Bedevere, Concorde: Jimmy Smagula
The Lady of the Lake: Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer
Sir Not Appearing: Daniel Beeman
God: Eric Idle
French Guards: Michael Fatica, Ryan Kasprzak, Rob McClure
Minstrels: Michael Fatica, Kaylee Olson
Sir Bors: Daniel May
Ensemble: Phillip Attmore, Daniel Beeman, Maria Briggs, Michael Fatica, Ryan Kasprzak, Eloise Kropp, Daniel May, Shina Ann Morris, Kaylee Olson, Kristin Piro