While the cast of the new Broadway production of “Spamalot” is cracking up audiences, they’re all trying their best not to crack up as well.
Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:
On the new episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety’s theater podcast, actors James Monroe Iglehart, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer and Michael Urie gave listeners a glimpse of the shenanigans that threaten their poker faces.
“There’s this part where [co-star] Ethan Slater, as a mime, is miming dropping a baby off a balcony and it makes me laugh every night,” Urie says.
Among the actors, Chris Fitzgerald (“Waitress”) seems like the troublemaker of the group. “Chris will look at me during my song ‘Find Your Grail,’ and I’m singing, and he’s like crossing his eyes at me,” Kritzer said. “I absolutely love it, and I also can’t break because I’m singing. There’s no choice in the matter.”
Urie chimed in, “There’s a moment where we’re onstage and he’s just staring at me for the express purpose of making me laugh. … So that’s manipulative.”
“Chris is literally figuring out bits while he’s doing other bits,” Iglehart added.
When Iglehart, Kritzer and Urie got involved in the show, they came with varying degrees of familiarity with the distinctive humor of Monty Python, the comedy troupe whose film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” was the inspiration for “Spamalot.” Iglehart, for instance, had never heard of them until he got to college.
“If you’re in college theater, there’s always a couple of conversations that happen in a green room,” Iglehart explained. “It’s always Sondheim vs. Lloyd Webber, and then Monty Python vs. whoever anybody else thinks is funny. I came from a household of Mel Brooks.”
The trio got their first onstage experience performing Python humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where the current Broadway production originated in a quickie, 10-day run. “I think we created our show in sort of the same spirit that they created the original, which was: Who do we have and what can they do? And let’s cater to those people,” Urie said. “If Ethan Slater can do a backbend, let’s let him do a backbend. If Leslie and James can scat their brains out, let’s let them do that.”
Also on the new “Stagecraft,” Iglehart, Kritzer and Urie discussed the mechanics of incorporating current-events zingers into the show and shared how the cast came together — including the reveal of one behind-the-scenes tidbit that Urie had never before told his castmates.
To hear the entire conversation, listen at the link above or download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and the Broadway Podcast Network. New episodes of “Stagecraft” are released every other week.