With Spamalot having returned to Broadway 18 years after its debut, readers may be curious about what the original 2005 cast is up to now. Below, Broadway’s Best Shows is celebrating the original cast of the spoof-filled musical and the careers they’ve enjoyed since.
A voice acting legend for his 30+ years of work on The Simpsons, Azaria made his Broadway debut as Sir Lancelot in Spamalot. He later appeared in the 2007 Aaron Sorkin play The Farnsworth Invention on Broadway and has appeared in many TV shows and movies, most recently starring in Brockmire and The Idol, while continuing on The Simpsons.
SNL alum Taran Killam plays Lancelot in 2023, with Beetlejuice’s Alex Brightman set to take over the part in January 2024.
Borle had maybe the craziest track in a show where everyone played 2-5 characters. In the program, he was listed as “Historian, Not Dead Fred, French Guard, Minstrel, Prince Herbert.” He went on to Legally Blonde, and Falsettos, two performances seen far and wide after they were recorded for television, and has two Tonys, for Peter and the Starcatcher and Something Rotten. He was nominated again for 2023’s Some Like It Hot. Oh yes, and he was on Smash.
Spongebob’s erstwhile simple sponge Ethan Slater steps into the track in 2023.
David Hyde Pierce
Pierce was possibly the most famous actor coming into Spamalot, after eleven years on Frasier. While he had acted on Broadway before, he learned to sing and dance for the production. After his turn at the Round Table, he won a Tony for his performance in Curtains, appeared in Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, and worked opposite Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! He can currently be seen at The Shed in the final Sondheim musical Here We Are, and on the MAX series Julia.
Michael Urie plays his role in the 2023 production.
Ramirez has recently reentered the zeitgeist with their attention-grabbing role as Che Diaz on And Just Like That, but theater fans know them as the Tony-winning Lady of the Lake in Spamalot. In the intervening period, they worked on eleven seasons of Grey’s Anatomy as Callie Torres, breaking barriers for queer representation in television.
Beetlejuice’s Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer steps into the part for 2023.
After his Tony-nominated stint as Sir Galahad in the original Spamalot, Sieber did a series of impressive physical comedy roles, including originating the role of Lord Farquaad in Shrek, garnering another Tony nom, replacing as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda, and rolling around the floor of the Jacobs doing martial arts with Jennifer Simard in 2022’s Company revival. The role of Trent Oliver in The Prom was written specifically for him.
Broadway stalwart Nik Walker takes over the role in 2023.
Tim Curry made his fourth Broadway appearance, as King Arthur, in Spamalot. His post-Spamalot work is sadly limited, due to a stroke in 2012, although he did make a winning turn narrating the 2016 Rocky Horror Picture Show remake. He has also worked extensively as a voice actor, including in the critically acclaimed animated series Over the Garden Wall.
James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin, Hamilton) plays the part in 2023.
McGrath, Spamalot’s loyal Patsy and a beloved New York character actor, appeared in an incredible nine Broadway shows afterward. Most recently he understudied Matthew Broderick in Plaza Suite, andstarred as Ladislav Sipos in Roundabout’s 2016 revival of She Loves Me, among many other credits. Sadly, McGrath passed away in fall 2023.
Christopher Fitzgerald (Waitress) plays Patsy in 2023.
And a special bonus…
Waddingham starred as the Lady of the Lake when the production moved to London, and also came to New York near the end of its run. In 2020, Waddingham vaulted to stardom as football club owner Rebecca Welton on Ted Lasso, winning an Emmy for her performance. She was also the “Shame Nun” on Game of Thrones and a helicopter parent on Sex Education.
Waddingham is releasing a Christmas special on Apple TV, and an accompanying album, both out on November 22nd.
The fall theater season in New York City is full of gems. From new Broadway productions like Jaja’s African Hair Braiding and Purlie Victorious to long-running Off-Broadway hits like Little Shop of Horrors and Titanique, there is something onstage for everyone. Here, we are breaking down the top five most exciting new works coming to the Off-Broadway stage in the next couple of months!
For one week only in November, New York City Center Encores! will present a reimagined take on the 1941 Rodgers & Hart musical as part of their annual gala. The musical is directed by Tony Goldwyn and Savion Glover, and stars Ephraim Sykes, Elizabeth Stanley, Aisha Jackson, Loretta Devine, Brooks Ashmanskas, and more. With an all-new book, jazzy arrangements of classics pulled from across the Rodgers & Hart catalog, and percussive tap choreography by the legendary Savion Glover, this one is not to be missed.
The latest play from David Adjmi is set entirely inside a recording studio, taking its inspiration from 1970s rock acts like Fleetwood Mac, where tempers, egos, and love affairs threaten to destroy, or maybe enhance, musical genius. The production features original music by Will Butler of the band Arcade Fire, and actors such as Will Brill and Juliana Canfield will be playing their musical instruments live on stage.
I Can Get It For You Wholesale
Classic Stage Company presents a revival of this rarely-seen musical about 1930s Jewish garment workers. In 1961 it gave Barbra Streisand her Broadway debut and her first Tony nom at age 19 for a featured role as a beleaguered secretary. Directed by Trip Cullman and with a revised book by John Weidman (Assassins, Pacific Overtures), the cast features Santina Fontana, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Julia Lester, Adam Chanler-Berat, Judy Kuhn, Sarah Steele, and Joy Woods.
Here We Are
You can now see the final work of Stephen Sondheim onstage at The Shed. Information about the show remains sparse, but we know it’s based on two surrealist Luis Buñuel films that satirize the upper class. It features direction by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello and a murderer’s row of theater stars, including Francois Battiste, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannavale, Micaela Diamond, Amber Gray, Jin Ha, Rachel Bay Jones, Denis O’Hare, Steven Pasquale, David Hyde Pierce, and Jeremy Shamos.
Danny and the Deep Blue Sea
Aubrey Plaza is set to star in this new production of John Patrick Shanley’s 1984 romance, directed by Jeff Ward. The Parks& Recreation and White Lotus star makes her stage debut opposite Girls’ Christopher Abbott. Playing for 10 weeks only beginning October 30 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, rumor has it this won’t be the last we see of this production on the island of Manhattan…
Already seen everything Broadway has to offer? Ahead of this year’s autumn equinox, here’s Broadway’s Best Shows’ picks for what you should catch around New York City this fall. These shows are currently running, and some only have a few performances left, so grab your tickets now!
Little Shop of Horrors
The long-running hit revival of Alan Menken & Howard Ashman’s horror-comedy-musical at the Westside Theatre is still going strong. With the introduction of new stars Corbin Bleu and Constance Wu as Seymour and Audrey, respectively, now is a great time to catch the show, or even return for a repeat viewing!
Atlantic Theatre Company presents Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker’s latest work, Infinite Life. The dramedy, which was extended through October 14, is set at a water-fasting retreat in Northern California where a group of women of a certain age are hoping to cure their bodily pains and disorders.
Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors
If you’re looking for a laugh that will also get you in the Halloween spirit, this monstrous farce now running at New World Stages ought to do the trick. In a fresh and sexy take on the classic vampiric tale, James Daly stars as the fabled foe alongside Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Jordan Boatman, Arnie Burton, and Ellen Harvey. The new play by Steve Rosen (The Other Josh Cohen) and Gordon Greenberg–who also directs–is now making its New York debut after regional productions at Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Florida, Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, and Segal Centre for Performing Arts in Montreal.
Rachel Bloom: Death, Let Me Do My Show
From the creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, this new musical comedy looks death squarely in the eye. Don’t let her “everybody pretend it’s 2019” top of show message fool you–Bloom brings her signature brand of intelligent, raunchy, thoughtful comedy to tackle pandemic grief and confusion. The strictly limited run ends September 30 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.
Céline Dion (as homaged by a roster of mostly former Elphabas) continues to sail through the story of the Titanic at the Daryl Roth Theatre! In this gay fantasia, which opened at Asylum NYC in June 2022 before moving to its current home, Céline uses her own discography to conjure her memory of the iconic ship, confusing fact with James Cameron’s fictional filmic telling.
This year’s 76th Annual Tony Awards will be broadcast live from the United Palace in Washington Heights on Sunday, June 11th. As this year’s nominated shows head into the final stretch of their awards campaigns, Broadway’s Best Shows is here to remind you that no one is guaranteed a Tony, not even Aaron Tveit. Here is a list of our top 10 surprise upset wins, across 76 years of Tony history.
10. Christopher Ashley wins for directing Come From Away – 2017
Conventional wisdom had the category as a showdown between Michael Greif for Dear Evan Hansen and Rachel Chavkin for Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, parallel to the competition happening over in the Best Musical category. Perhaps because Greif and Chavkin split the vote, Christopher Ashley was genuinely flabbergasted when he won his first Tony. Ashley was previously nominated in the same category for Memphis and The Rocky Horror Show.
The cast of Come From Away performs in the 2017 Tonys:
9. 1978 Best Play
The Pulitzer Prize-winning The Gin Game was the anticipated winner for best play – that, or Chapter Two, a comedy about grief from Broadway heavyweight Neil Simon. However, the Tony voters chose the lesser-known Irish playwright Hugh Leonard, for Da, a memory play about a man traveling back to the suburbs of Dublin to cope with the death of his adopted father.
Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones in the 2015 revival of The Gin Game:
8. Follies and the 2012 Revivals category
For whatever reason, Follies has particularly bad Tonys luck, as we also discuss below. Its revival in 2011, starring Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, and Elaine Paige, was not a major commercial success, but it was expected to win the Best Revival category against Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Porgy & Bess. Instead, the Diane Paulus-directed Porgy won the statue.
Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, and the company of Porgy & Bess perform at the 2012 Tonys:
The always delightful Danny Burstein performs a song from Follies at the 2012 Tonys broadcast:
7. Children of a Lesser God wins Best Play – 1980
Best known for its 1986 film adaptation starring Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God was a watershed moment for portrayals of Deaf people in theater, exploring the complex issue of Deaf schools insisting students learn to speak, instead of using ASL. Its original star Phyllis Frelich was the first Deaf person ever to win a Tony Award. It beat out Talley’s Folly, a romance by Lanford Wilson that won the Pulitzer and was expected to win, and Bent, a gut wrenching drama about queer people in Nazi concentration camps by Martin Sherman.
Children of a Lesser God was also revived on Broadway in 2018, with direction by Kenny Leon:
6. Marissa Jaret Winokur wins Best Actress
While Hairspray was expected to win Best Musical in 2003, Bernadette Peters was the favorite to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy. Peters had previously won for Song and Dance and Annie Get Your Gun. But it was Marissa Janet Winokur, in her Broadway principal debut as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, who ended up winning.
Marissa’s acceptance speech:
5. Kinky Boots wins Best Musical
Prevailing wisdom said that Matilda, like the many British mega-musicals before it, was going to sweep the 2013 Tony awards. In a battle between the lovably sassy British drag queens and the lovably sassy British schoolchildren (only in New York!), it was the American-produced Kinky Boots that won out. Why? Perhaps its surprise win at the Drama League Awards earlier that month moved the needle, or perhaps the almost entirely American Tony voter pool wanted to support one of its own. While both shows were uplifting, Kinky Boots’ pro-LGBTQ+ rights message may have resonated extra hard. (Matilda ended up just fine though – it ran for four years on Broadway, and is still open in the West End.)
4. 2007 Best Actor in a Musical
Theater fans are still arguing over whether Raúl Esparza should have won for Company over David Hyde Pierce for Curtains. Esparza gave a heart wrenching performance as Bobby in John Doyle’s stripped down reimagining of the Sondheim classic. While the rest of the cast played their own instruments throughout the show, Esparza-as-Bobby only sits down in front of a piano to accompany himself in the finale, “Being Alive.” Sondheim is notoriously tricky for pianists, and to also act and sing it at the same time is a rare feat:
But it was beloved Frasier star David Hyde Pierce who won out, for his portrayal of a sensitive and theater-obsessed police detective in Curtains. Pierce, who had put himself into musical theater bootcamp to prepare for his debut in Spamalot a few years prior, may have been helped by his reputation as the nicest person in showbusiness, and the goodwill he had amassed by choosing to come back to Broadway after winning four Emmys for Frasier. Below, DHP and the company of Curtains perform at the Tonys:
3. 1972 – Follies loses best musical
A piece of Tonys trivia that always surprises theater lovers: Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece Follies did not win the 1972 Tony Award for Best Musical. That award went to Two Gentlemen of Verona, a groovy Shakspeare adaptation by Galt McDermot, the composer behind Hair, in collaboration with playwright John Guare. It also beat out heavyweights like Grease and Ain’t Supposed to Die A Natural Death, and Jesus Christ Superstar wasn’t even nominated in the category.There are a few theories for why this happened: first, 2 Gents is a much frothier, more optimistic show than Follies. It was a diverting entertainment that left audiences joyful, while Follies matched the dark reality of the national mood amidst the Vietnam war, Watergate, and Greatest Generation discontent. 2 Gents takes a firm antiwar stance, but it didn’t confront middle-aged Tony voters with their unhappy marriages they way Follies did. At the same time, voters may have picked 2 Gents to save face after Hair was a massive cultural moment back in 1968 but didn’t win any Tonys, making the awards seem out of touch.
2 Gents was revived off-Broadway in 2005 at the Delacorte with Norm Lewis, Oscar Isaac, Rosario Dawson, John Cariani, and Renee Elise Goldsberry. Here’s Goldsberry and Lewis performing “Night Letter” from that production:
2. Nine beats Dreamgirls
Dreamgirls was an instant, massive smash when it opened to rave reviews in December of 1981. Loosely based on the story of Diana Ross and The Supremes, and with an energetic Motown-inspired score, the production starred Jennifer Holliday and Sheryl Lee Ralph. Nine, a baroque exploration of an Italian film director’s psychosexual whirlwind based on Federico Fellini’s film 8½, had its first *workshop* performance in February of 1982, and opened on Broadway the day of the Tonys cutoff in May. Dreamgirls, directed by Michael Bennett of A Chorus Line fame,was at the Shubert-owned Imperial, and Nine played at the Nederlander-owned Rodgers right next door, and was directed by Tommy Tune. Even juicier, Bennett and Tune had once been dear friends, with Bennett having taken Tune under his wing (if you can take someone who’s 6’6” under your wing.) When Nine was quickly announced to open in the 1981-1982 season, on the final day of Tonys eligibility no less, Bennett called Tune and begged/threatened him to take the show out of town and bring it to New York next year instead. Tune refused. So the story goes, during the Tonys campaigning period in May 1982, the Dreamgirls team refused to step into restaurants the Nine people went to, and vice-versa. The American Theatre Wing, the producer of the Tony Awards, amped up the drama by seating the teams on opposite sides of the Imperial Theatre for the ceremony in June. The producers of Nine pushed their narrative as the scrappy show that could, and that Dreamgirls, backed by the mighty Shubert Organization, didn’t need – or deserve – a vote. Many in the industry were grateful for how fierce the competition got, since Broadway hadn’t had a huge hit since 1975’s A Chorus Line, and the brewing feud got lots of press. While Dreamgirls won many awards at the ceremony, including Best Actress for Jennifer Holliday, Nine shocked the world and won Best Musical. It ran for two years on Broadway, and was also revived in 2003 – when it won again, for Best Revival. Dreamgirls ran for four years, and was only briefly revived in 1987, although its historical impact as a Broadway show with three-dimensional roles for Black women and the way it tackles fatphobia, racism, and colorism in the music industry makes Nine’s womanizer-genius focus look a bit hollow in retrospect.
Jennifer Holliday brings down the house with “I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”:
The cast of Nine performs at the Tonys:
Avenue Q bests Wicked
Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked was the enormous smash of the 2003-2004 Broadway season, its creative team and producers all established industry veterans. Avenue Q, a weirder but better-reviewed show by then-unknowns Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, and Jeff Whitty, wasn’t expected to do well at the Tonys, or last longer than a few months on Broadway. In spring 2004, the country was also gearing up for the 2004 presidential election, and the Avenue Q producers crafted a campaign that both parodied politics and spoke to voters directly: “Vote Your Heart,” pleaded the red, white, and blue posters and buttons, and the puppets even participated in a mock debate. The producers were using a strategy first used by Nine in 1982, the last time a Best Musical race was this excruciating (see below). They appealed to the Tony voters, all 700 or so of them, to support the underdog, the subtext being that Wicked would do well regardless of whether it won, while a Best Musical win could make or break Avenue Q’s future. The campaign worked, and the little puppet show written by newcomers won not just Best Musical, but Best Book and Score of a Musical as well. Avenue Q ran on Broadway for 6 years, and Off-Broadway for another 10. Wicked seems to be doing okay too.
Note the shock on the producer’s faces when they announce that Avenue Q won: