Thursday, July 24, 2008

Not the Messiah!

Well, Eric Idle is at it again...musicalizing his old Monty Python movies into stage plays. We saw Spamalot a couple of years ago at the National Theatre, his collaboration with composer/conductor John Du Prez to modify "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" to the stage as a musical. Now, he decided to put the story from "Life of Brian" (which I've actually not seen BTW, but am familiar with the storyline) as an operetta of sorts, only sung by a tenor, baritone, soprano, and mezzo-soprano, with Idle performing also in the baritone-ish range. If you didn't listen to the words, it was actually very well performed. A couple of things I noted, though, while watching: Did the Master Chorale of Washington and the National Symphony Orchestra see playing this as the time of their life, or one of the dumbest things they ever performed? Also, I thought that the purple-haired, tattooed mezzo-soprano was an operatic goth chick at heart in the midst of the otherwise very formal event. Very spontaneous but well-performed overall. Apparently, Washington is only one of 3 venues in the US that Idle is "testing" the market to see how well this show might go...

Eric Idle adds an orchestra to Monty Python comedy

Thursday, July 17, 2008 7:30:39 AM

In Eric Idle's world, a leaf blower is part of the orchestra.

The Monty Python star and "Spamalot" writer is bringing his silliness back to the stage with "Not the Messiah," a musical comedy hodgepodge that features a full orchestra and the occasional leaf blower.

"Musically we've put it in," Idle said.

After putting on the production in Toronto and Sydney, Australia, (and a one-off performance in upstate New York), Idle and composer-conductor John Du Prez are bringing the show stateside for a limited run.

"Not the Messiah" gives a musical stage treatment to "Life of Brian" the way "Spamalot" did for "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

"In many ways, 'Spamalot' made it possible for us to do this sort of thing," Idle said. "People take us seriously that we'll put it on, but also it means that we're not so obsessed, we don't have to make a fortune out of it, we can just make it work for its own cost."

Backed by a 104-piece orchestra, Idle and his comedic crew will perform "Not the Messiah" at Wolf Trap National Park in Vienna, Va.; the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles; and the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

The Los Angeles show will also feature fireworks and a 32-member bagpipe band, Idle said.

The 65-year-old actor, writer and composer, who has crafted more than 300 comedic songs over the past 30 years, said he's always been moved to set his comedy to music.

"Orchestras and choirs love it," he said. "They don't often get to wear miners helmets and do doo-wop."



Thursday, July 24 at 8:15 pm at the Filene Center
Ticket Price: $20 to $55
Not the Messiah!
(He’s a Very Naughty Boy)
Starring Eric Idle
John Du Prez, conductor
Master Chorale of Washington
Donald McCullough, Music Director

Move over, Handel...the team that unleashed Spamalot has schemed up their newest adventure—a comic oratorio inspired by Handel’s famous oratorio Messiah and Monty Python’s hilarious Life of Brian.

Join Python superstar Eric Idle and his Spamalot Grammy and Tony Award-winning co-composer John Du Prez and a cast of thousands—well, an audience of thousands, plus the NSO, chorus, soloists, bagpipers, and a sheep—as they tell the tragi-comic story of a man mistaken for the Messiah. This new work for 100 musicians is an attempt to create a new form—the comic oratorio—from the Pythons’ most admired movie. Idle—singing baritone-ish—reprises some of his best-loved roles from this legendary movie that reminds you to “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life”!Join Python superstar Eric Idle and his Spamalot Grammy and Tony Award-winning co-composer John Du Prez and a cast of thousands—well, an audience of thousands, plus the NSO, chorus, soloists, bagpipers, and a sheep—as they tell the tragi-comic story of a man mistaken for the Messiah. This new work for 100 musicians is an attempt to create a new form—the comic oratorio—from the Pythons’ most admired movie. Idle—singing baritone-ish—reprises some of his best-loved roles from this legendary movie that reminds you to “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life”!

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