44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT
When I first bought this CD, I thought that the jokes were "amused smile" funny, not "ha-ha" funny. Then I saw the show on 4th of July weekend and it's a miracle that I left with my pants still dry. That's how funny the show itself is.
And now a critical analysis of this 'ere CD.
1. Tuning: Not in the show but still funny. Is that Eric Idle talking?
2. Overture: Very nice.
3. Historian's Introduction: Very funny, very Pythonesque in its offhand remarks (To the North, the Anglo-Saxons, to the South, the French, to the East, nothing but Celts and some people from Scotland.)
4. Finland: In reality, a song written many years ago by the Pythons. The closest the show's gonna get to the Swedish subtitles gag. Missing from this track is the "fish slap" section. Oh, well, gotta get to the singing, right?
5. I Am Not Yet Dead: A lovely musicalization of the classic scene from the movie starting off with the Latin chant and the banging of the heads.
6. Come With Me: A perfect introduction to the show's leading lady, Sara Ramirez, who has what I consider the biggest kick-ass voice on Broadway. I haven't heard a belter like that before in my life. More on her later.
7. The Laker Girls Cheer: Eh. It's pretty good.
8. The Song That Goes Like This: An excellent, hilarious send up of the cheesy pop love duets that exist in musicals today, particularly those of Andrew Lloyd Webber. In the show, this is a spoof of "Phantom" complete with the laker girls as the candelabra statues, a boat, and a chandelier that breaks at the end.
9. He Is Not Dead Yet (Playoff): Actually occurs at the end of "I Am Not Dead Yet". Yay, they snuck in a bit from the Lumberjack Song.
10. All For One: The cheesy buddy ballad. Very good. In the show, Sir Not Appearing in this Show is a representation of Don Quixote. So it's obvious why he's not appearing in this show. 'Cause he's in the wrong one.
11. Knights of the Round Table/The Song that Goes Like This (reprise): One of my favorite songs combined with another song that goes like this. Incidentally, some lines in "Knights of the Round Table" were part of the original lyrics for the song. The reprise of "The Song That Goes Like This" is an excellent spoof of the cheesy cabaret lounge number in musicals complete with a nun and monk doing a pas de deux. Ramirez exhibits an excellent blend of Merman, Minelli, and Streisand, and maybe a little Eder (as in Linda).
12. Find Your Grail: A spoof of the cheesy inspirational pop ballads present in musicals today complete with corny vocal ad-libs (that's what I call them.)
13. Run Away: This song was severely cut down when I saw it on Broadway. All that's left is the French Taunter's verse, a jazz section replacing the Can-Can dance, and the last verse which was brought down several octaves. It was not a settling end of Act 1 for me. Pity, I liked the song. There's even an Eponine look-a-like at one point. The girl who was dressed up like her looked like Idina Menzel (obviously it wasn't)
14. The Intermission: Delivered like a true Gumby. Not in the show.
15. Historian's Introduction: Not as funny.
16. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: a send up of the old fashioned cheer up eternal optimist ballads even if it was a song that was written back in the 70s for Life of Brian, another great Python film.
17. Brave Sir Robin: Another hilarious song from the film. They even managed to sing the last line which is cut off by Eric Idle in the movie. There are many reprises of the song as well.
18. You Won't Succeed on Broadway: A send up of the ol' showbiz songs (There's No Business...Another Op'nin'...) complete with a Fiddler on the Roof parody.
19. Diva's Lament: Spoofs the part of the show where the leading lady comes on totally randomly after having diddly squat to do for half of Act Two. Sara Ramirez blew me out of the water. Just to warn anyone who hasn't seen the show, they changed the lyric "I've no Grammys, no rewards/I've no Tony Awards" to "My Tony Awards/Won't keep me out of Betty Ford's" 'cause Sara Ramirez did win the Tony for her part.
20. Where Are You: the cliched searching for love ballad. At one point in the scene, Herbert sings "And another hundred people just contracted the plague". Bet you can guess what that's from.
21. His Name Is Lancelot: Not spoofing any particular type of song in a Broadway show but spoofing The Boy From Oz definitely.
22. I'm All Alone: Another spoof. Loneliness ballad obviously. Very hilarious.
23. Twice In Every Show: A spoof of the rousing reprises of the cheesy love ballads complete with some cliched dialogue.
24. The Finale: A spoof of how the cheesy inspirational pop number is spoofed through different forms then going into pop at the end. Very rousing.
25. Always Look On the Bright Side of Life: Maybe not a spoof of how they try to get one last song stuck in your head before you leave the theatre but good nonetheless.
Tim Curry: Very hilarious. Excellent timing. Love the singing.
Sara Ramirez: What a voice! Not even Idina Menzel can belt one out like that.
Christian Borle: Very nice voice.
Christopher Seiber: Saw him in Into the Woods. Very good voice as well.
Hank Azaria: Not the best singer in the world but still funny. Did not see him when I saw the show. Stupid Huff.
David Hyde Pierce: He looked like the type with a hidden singing voice. It's a very good one.
Michael McGrath: Very good voice. He's got the ol' crooner voice which is perfect for Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
Steve Rosen: Must have an excellent voice. Just doesn't have a very good time to shine with it. Does do a great imitation of Terry Jones though.
All in all, it's great music but an even better show with some phenomenal talent. There are two songs left off the CD; King Arthur's song (which is really the theme sung in the Laker Girls' Cheer) and The Holy Grail which is sung after the Holy Grail is found in Row C Seat 101 and they bring up the "peasant" sitting in the seat. There's a lyric involving the person's name (at the show I saw, his name was Harvey Lucas) which obviously changes and would be difficult to record unless you sang, "Please insert name here".
Ni! Peng! Nee-womp! Ecky-ecky-ecky-p'tang-zoop-boing-ole-biscuit barrel-naro-naro.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Yes, it is all terribly silly just as any Python fan would wish. It
also makes for a fun original cast album where you can pretty much
follow the action without reading a synopsis. A god thing too for
Decca has not included one in the booklet! Oh there are plenty of
colour pictures, all the lyrics and endless credits. (Does the home
listener really need to know who the show's press rep is???) But
you'll look in vain for a synopsis.
Nevertheless the disc spins merrily along for 52 minutes zipping
form one lunacy to another, pausing for a couple of extended numbers
("Knights of the Round table"; "Always Look on the Bright Side of
Life" and the "Diva's Lament") but most or the rest are so short the
end before they barely get started!
None of the men offer truly spectacular voices, which is fine since
the style of Monty Python calls character voices, however the biggest
voice belongs to the wonderful Sara Ramirez as The Lady of the Lake.
Your knowledge of traditional musicals will help you understand some
of the jokes but there are plenty of other pop culture references
(even Britney Spears gets mentioned!)
SPAMALOT, like quite a number of shows the past few seasons, refuses
to take itself or anything else seriously. But the music here, unlike
THE PRODUCERS, is purposely derivative and therefore little of it
stays with you after the show ends. The most memorable tune
is "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and that one has been
kicking around since THE LIFE OF BRIAN came out in 1979. Still that
hasn't prevented SPAMALOT from becoming the biggest hit on Broadway
this season, and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
"Spamalot" is explicitly proud of the fact that it is lovingly "ripped off" from the classic film comedy "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Directed by Mike Nichols, the show has a book by Python's Eric Idle and a whole bunch of new sons by Idle and John Du Prez. Now that the production has won the Tony Award for Best Musical for 2004-2005, we can only imagine what will happen when "The Life of Brian" or "The Meaning of Life" are transported to the stage and another nail is driving in the coffin of Western civilization. All I know is that the first time I saw "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" I never laughed so hard during opening credits in my life (even with three of us sitting in two seats in the front of a Volkswagen rabbit--appropriate, huh?), and they do not have opening credits in Broadway musicals so I think the film still comes out ahead on that score.
"Spamalot" looks again at the legendary tale of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table, who dance when ere they're able, they do routines and chorus scenes, with footwork impeccable. Throw into the mix French people, a cow, a killer rabbit, and the Holy Grail and wackiness ensues. The cast is headed by Tim Curry as King Arthur, David Hyde-Pierce as Sir Robin, and Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot. Then there is Michael McGrath as Patsy (and a myriad of other roles), Steve Rosen as Sir Bedevere, Sara Rameriez as the Lady of the Lake, and Christopher Seibert as Sir Dennis Galahad, the Black Knight and Prince Herbert's Father (the idea is keep true to the spirit of Monty Python and have a core cast do most of the nonsense and then bring in chorus girls to distract audiences from the inept dancing).
There were a few songs from the motion picture that are, of course, found in the musical: "Monks Chant," "Knights of the Round Table," and "Brave Sir Robin" ("Bring Out Your Dead" and "Run Away" were not exactly songs then, but they are now). Idle knows his most famous song is "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from "The Life of Brian," and he has no shame in having it pop up twice in this show. But I think the one that will get stuck in your head and drive you to distraction will be "The Song That Goes Like This." I was hoping they would do that one at the Tony Awards and exorcise it from my fevered brain, but they did "Find Your Grail," which is a better choice in terms of a production number that can feature the entire cast and a lot peppier than "I'm All Alone." Then again, I am surprised they did not do "You Won't Succeed on Broadway," with its explanation for what you need to have a hit on the Great White Way (count the levels of political incorrectness). But then I am back to listening to the rest of the songs and by the time we get to "Twice in Every Show" my brain is heating up again.
My favorite part of the "Holy Grail" remains the lesson in anarcho-syndicated commune living between King Arthur and the "Old Woman," and the reading from the Book of Armaments, Chapter 2, Verses 9-21, regarding the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. There are the Historian's introductions to both acts, but no other spoken comedy because they are working in as many songs as they can, almost two dozen by the final tally, including reprises and false starts. These are not great songs but they are great fun, and there are several that you will find yourself singing along with after a while and let me tell you that trying to sing both parts in "The Song That Goes Like This" is more difficult than you might think. Do you think there will ever be a touring company of "Spamalot"? We are still waiting for "Wicked" out here in the sticks, so this album and the DVD of "Holy Grail" might be all we have to hold ourselves over for the foreseeable future.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
If you've seen Monty Python's SPAMALOT, you'll love this Original Cast Recording because hearing every song, line, and "Oh my!" will cause you to either break into uncontrollable laughter all over again or, at the very least, smile inappropriately among strangers.
If you've never seen SPAMALOT, but saw "Monty Python and The Holy Grail" 35 times, you'll love this because most of the songs refer directly to those "Grail" scenes that are forever burned into your brain, including John Cleese and Graham Chapman's "Knights of the Round Table." Added to that are favorites from other classic Python sketches and films, like Eric Idle's "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" and Michael Palin's "Finland," plus several original songs by Idle making fun of typical Broadway musicals, like "The Song That Goes Like This" and "I'm All Alone."
If, on the other hand, you've never seen SPAMALOT, "Monty Python and The Holy Grail," or other Python shows...um...congratulations on escaping from that cave, I guess. I would still encourage you to buy this CD, if only to enhance your sense of humor.
Other reasons to buy the SPAMALOT cast recording? A hilarious spoof of Barry Manilow-style songs, an Intermission interlude worthy of a Terry Gilliam cartoon, and tremendous performances by David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria, Chris Seiber, and others, including the best role Tim Curry has had since "Rocky Horror Picture Show."
You really should buy this one.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Eric Idol and John Du Prez bring the story of the search for the Holy Grail to the Broadway stage. I really enjoyed this listening to this album. All of the cast members give excellent performances in their roles. The soundtrack not only provides the lyrics these songs, but it also describes what happens on stage when these songs are performed. I felt like I was actually watching the show just listening to this CD.
David Hyde Pierce sings a very great song entitled You Won't Succeed on Broadway. This is a very funny song in which he sings that you can't succeed on Broadway if you don't have any Jews. Hank Azaria lends his talents here in his role as Lancerlot. His name is Lancerlot is a very upbeat dance number and one of my favorites. I enjoyed the track Laker Girls Cheer. It sounds very funny. I also liked the song Always Look on The Bright Side of Life. This is a happy song performed by Tim Curry who plays King Arthur. This is a kind of song you would sing to a friend just to cheer them up.
Sara Ramirez is such a great singer. She performs on several numbers on this soundtrack in her role as Lady Of The Lake. My favorite is Find Your Grail. This song shows off Sara's powerful voice. It is a song about letting nothing stop you from achieving your goal. Sara also sings a song with Christopher Sieber who plays Sir Gallahad entitled The Song That Goes Like This. This song is romantic and funny at the same time. I really enjoyed this track. This soundtrack is excellent. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys good music or anyone who needs a laugh. I hope to see Spamalot on Broadway in the near future.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Eric Idle could have a promising career as a Broadway show writer. Spamalot is true to Python, with an edge to its modern satire. When I first heard that Spamalot was in the works, I thought someone was going to ruin an excellent set of memories, (like the movie Sgt. Pepper did to the Beatles), I couldn't have been more wrong. There were some modifications of the original story so it could be performed on stage, but the spirit is true. As an added bonus, the performers have excellent singing voices so the music is entertaining in its own right.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
While the cast recording is hilarious and satirical in every way, some of the jokes that are probably quite funny, may fall flat simply because we cannot see what is going on. With that said, I love that they are making fun of the fact that they are doing a musical. "The Song That Goes Like This" and "Diva's Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part?)" are the perfect examples of this satirical attitude. Sara Ramirez as The Lady of the Lake fabulously exhibits a myriad of musical styles, from jazzy scat in "The Knights of the Round Table" to the imfamously drawn out balled in "The Song That Goes Like This". Overall: very funny, just unfortunate we can't see what is going on.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2005
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
My first exposure to all things Python was coming across Monty Python & the Holy Grail on PBS back as a preteen on a Saturday afternoon. Needless to say, the material has a very soft spot in my heart. Like other posters here, I can easily recite much of the dialogue without breaking a sweat, but this is about the Broadway cast recording of the musical comedy based on (or lovingly ripped off from) that source material.
Many of the 'name' actors on the soundtrack aren't known for their singing voices, but they do well with the material. Tim Curry does well with his songs, but his bit of 'scatting' with the Lady of the Lake could use a bit of work. David Hyde Pierce has a surprisingly good voice and sounds right at home in this setting. Hank Azaria as Lancelot isnt given much to sing solo, but is part of much of the ensemble pieces.
The lesser known performers have the best voices. I have no idea where Sara Ramirez has been hidden away, but she shines in any song that she touches. Christian Borle has a few bits as Prince Herbert and has a smooth clear voice.
You can see the titles of the songs here and they are typical Pythonesque lyrics. The melodies are often very catching and a few songs are really a joy to listen to. 'The Song That Goes Like This' parodies all of those big large, lush numbers that every musical seemed required to have....until this. My personal favorite is 'Find Your Grail', basically about figuring out what is most important to you and then going out and finding it.
If there is any complaint about this recording, its that it was recorded in early February, after the show's tune up run in Chicago. I dont know if its just because of the relatively short time the cast was together, but when the entire ensemble is singing, its not always completely in synch. Thankfully, all of the lyrics are included in the booklet along with just which character is singing what part.
Overall its a very enjoyable cast recording if you're looking for something different and certainly unique. If you're a Python fan already, you're going to buy this regardless. If you have no idea what can inspire such a dedicated following in people for this material, you might want to check this out.
Earlier today it was announced that the show has been nominated for 14 Tony Awards this year, including Best Show. That gives you an idea of how much this show is catching on.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I saw Spamalot very early on in it's Chicago preveiws (the third ever public display of Spamalot). While some songs have been cut since then ("Burn Her" about the Witch, and "The Cow Song"), what remains is still hillariously funny.
The performances are wonderful, starting with King Arthur, played by The Rocky Horror Picture Show's Tim Curry. While his certainly isn't the biggest highlight and his role is mainly that of straight man to everything else going on (that term is used in relative terms, of course), he's the glue which holds the entire show together. Next is The Simpsons' Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot, the head Knight Who Says "Ni" - doesn't appear on the CD as that - and the French Taunter (you know, directional farting and all that stuff). He's hillarious live, but a lot of his role isn't on the CD. Frasier's David Hyde Pierce is Sir Robin exclusivly on the CD, but also plays Brother Maynard and one of the Guards on stage.
The truly wonderful performance - live and on the CD is the Lady of the Lake, Sara Ramierz (she was also the witch and the cow when the respective songs were still included). Her ability to adapt her voice from sweet and intrancing, to mockingly sweet and intrancing, to overly jazzy and mock Liza, to gospel-ballad extrodenaire makes her lock for the Tony Award this year or any year EVER. And she is (thankfully) promently featured on the CD. Another featured show-stopper who is on the CD a lot is Christian Borle, the Historian, Not-Dead-Fred, Sir Robin's Minsterl, and Price Herbert. His diversity and the fact that he almost steals the show from the bigger stars make him a serious contender for the featured actor Tony, as well.
The score isn't amazingly overwhelming, but nice. And the lyrics are quite funny, especially songs such as "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" (you'll find out why not), "His Name is Lancelot," and "The Song That Goes Like This," the latter of which pokes fun at the Anderw Lloyd Webber ballads we've all heard WAY TOO MANY times. Also, some preexcisting Python songs have been included, namely "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," even though that was from Life of Brian, not Holy Grail.
I'm a huge Python-ite, but you don't have to be to love Monty Python's Spamalot.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2006
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
As a long-time Monty Python fanatic, I would endeavor to say that Spamalot was even funnier than the Holy Grail with hillarious twists and turns that the original film did not take. Being a musical, it is largely due to its absurd songs that makes the show such a success.
That being said, while many of the songs are very funny in and of themselves (Diva's Lament, The Song that Goes Like This, Brave Sir Robin, etc), they lack the complete absurdity that the context of the show as a whole gives them as the cast is dependent upon extremely talented acting in addition to the songs. Because of the script, some of the funniest songs (I'm All Alone, He is Not Dead Yet, Run Away!, Where Are You) encapsulated hillarious dialogue and stage movement that is not present in the CD, and makes the songs seem dull in comparison.
Naturally it would be quite impossible to put stage movement into a CD, but I think this album would be greatly improved if some of the dialogue had been included. I hope no one would buy this album to hear "good music," but rather to experience the phenominal performance that Spamalot is - and if you have seen the musical, it is easy to remember the scenes and put the songs into context. If you have not seen the musical, this album is mildly amusing but don't go way out of your way for it.