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October 9, 2011

'Spamalot' makes quick, rousing visit to renovated Modell Center at the Lyric

The newly renovated Lyric Opera House -- now officially the Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric -- is open for business.

The inaugural season has an assortment of opera (Lyric Opera Baltimore takes its first bow next month); pop stars; the occasional icon (Tony Bennett next week, John Waters in December); and, this weekend, a bunch of crazy knights seeking the Holy Grail in the 2005 Tony-winning musical "Spamalot."

This is one of several bus-and-struck shows breezing in and out of the Lyric this season. Only one of three performances remains -- 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon -- and if you are looking for a quick lift, get over there.

I was ...

pleasantly surprised Saturday night at how effective this touring production is. For one thing, it looks good. This is the first big show to use the Lyric's new modern backstage facility, replacing the ancient sandbag system for flying scenery, and the droll set pieces really do fly in this colorful staging. It seemed visually quite close to what I remembered on Broadway.

BT McNicholl has re-created the original Mike Nichols direction vibrantly. And the cohesive ensemble plunges into the deliriously zany business with admirable finesse.

Folks already tuned into the Monty Python world may have a better time with all of this than those unfortunates who don't grasp why the mere mention of Spam is hilarious, or what is so funny about a killer rabbit. But, hey, we can't all have superior comic tastes. 

Arthur Rowan makes a worthy King Arthur. Brittany Woodrow brings a terrific voice and styling to the role of the Lady of the the Lake. Kasidy Devlin has a great fling as Sir Robin, as does Marylander Adam Grabau portraying Sir Lancelot, the French Taunter and a couple of other choice parts.

This well-oiled production reconfirms that "Spamalot" is a big, old-fashioned musical with a silly heart inside. It offers something to entertain and/or insult just about everybody. Can't ask more of show than that. 


Posted by Tim Smith at 9:55 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Drama Queens


When are you bringing SPAMALOT to
California (hopefully Sacramento) ?
Please advise.
Penny Cross

Will the tour include California or Nevada in 2013?
Thanks :)

Check out The ticket link takes you to the tour dates, which so far extend into April. No Nevada or California listings included yet, but maybe they will come later (Colorado and New Mexico are on the list now). TIM

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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