Friday, February 23, 2007

"Life Of Brian" takes the stage: Toronto, June

This in Variety...
'Messiah' in Idle hands
'Spamalot' creator announces next project

And now for something not so completely different.

Following on the heels of "Monty Python's Spamalot," Eric Idle has announced his next project will be "Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy)," a comic oratorio set to have its world premiere in Toronto in June as part of the city's inaugural Luminato Festival of the Arts.

Just as Tony-winning tuner "Spamalot" was based on the 1975 film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," Idle's new work is loosely adapted from the iconic British troupe's 1979 pic "Life of Brian." "Spamalot" co-composer John Du Prez again will collaborate with Idle.

The piece has been commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, whose music director, Peter Oundjian, is also Idle's cousin -- although the comedian insists that had nothing to do with his decision.

"Who would want to work with their relatives, anyway?" Idle said. "They're usually unpleasant, dishonest and slow to pick up the check."

The 63-year-old comic did allow that Oundjian may be an exception to the rule because "he's got a bit of class, which is something my family has always desperately needed."

Idle was unwilling to disclose details about the work other than to say, "I promise it will be funnier than Handel, although probably not as good."

One question, though, is whether it will include "Brian's" best-known tune: "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," already part of "Spamalot."

Luminato is a new 90-event multidisciplinary arts fest scheduled to run throughout Toronto June 1-10. CEO is Janice Price, who ankled her job at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia to take over the fledging Canadian event.

Other high-profile names whose participation was announced Tuesday include Philip Glass, Leonard Cohen, Atom Egoyan and Isabel Bayrakdarian.

Organizers anticipate half a million people will attend the largely free events of this C$15 million ($13 million) festival, conceived to boost Toronto tourism.

"Spamalot" opened in March 2005 on Broadway, where it recently crossed the $100 million mark in grosses. The show has since spawned a national tour and a production in London's West End. A sit-down run in Las Vegas will start previews March 8 for a March 31 opening.


At 1:18 AM, Blogger Andrew Alexander said...

That's awesome! It's almost worth flying to Ontario to see!

I suppose there's no convincing them to come to Pacific Theatre to perform it...?

At 8:59 AM, Blogger Ron Reed said...

I'll have a chat with Eric, see what he can do.

While we're at it, maybe this UK company would revive their production of THE FISHER KING and bring it over?...

INNERROOM theatre co: Past Projects
by Richard La Gravanese
adapted by Andy Burden
(National Tour 1999)

“Small-scale theatre taken to its very limits” - The Independent

In a huge coup Innerroom secured the rights to the script of the Terry Gilliam film. The production toured for four months to the length and breadth of Britain, with great success. Naked men, hilarious wrestles with spaghetti and a heart-warming about salvation made this one of the best shows of 1999.


Hey, let's ring up the SPAMALOT folks and see if we can't arrange to run the three in rep! Would have been a wonderful fit with our upcoming season. More on that later...

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Andrew Alexander said...

Yes!... I'd go see that too.

If you ever announce that "Not the Messiah" is coming to Vancouver, I'll be the first in line to buy advance tickets!


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