Friday, January 09, 2009


Clay Aiken and Spamalot

Who knew, at the beginning of 2008 that I would make three trips to NYC in the coming year, a place I hated visiting when I worked in NJ and had to go into the city on business. I mean, "who knew". ™ King Arthur.

So, in I go on the first trip. Part of the fun of Spamalot is getting the peasant seat. Not to spoil it, but it's the place to be. They rotate between seats A101, B101, C101 and D101. We didn't know the significance of this at first and sure enough I'm off to NY with an A101 and a B101 ticket in my pocket. Alas, I was not to be the peasant, but they're darn good seats.

I also had a seat in the first row of the mezzanine and I would have to say, that's the best place to see the show and see all the action.

One wonders, I suppose, why a person would see the same show multiple times, but Spamalot is a show that seems to always have something new, be it the Knights of Ni coming up with a new and unrepeatable name - or Rick Holmes with his outrageous French accent coming up with a new taunt - "I throw my shoes at you".

Oh, and then there's that Clay Aiken guy playing brave Sir Robin who sings and dances and soils his pants regularly, thereby negating the "brave" part of the description of his role. Clay did a wonderful job and was accepted on Broadway without all the crap he seems to find in the music business. I think he'll be back someday in a meatier role, hopefully with more real singing. But, Spamalot was funny, engaging, and a great first start. I came to love several of the other actors, namely David Hibbard who plays Patsy, King Arthur's sidekick; Rick Holmes who plays a myriad of roles, including Sir Lancelot, the French Taunter and Tim the Enchanter; Tom Deckman who is hysterical as "Not Dead Fred", Prince Herbert, the Historian and the minstrel who torments Sir Robin in the "Brave Sir Robin" number.

The trip in May was to see what we thought was the last show Clay would be in. Hundreds of Clay Aiken fans filled the theatre, along with Python fans and others. The place rocked, it was clear the cast loved Clay and, well, love was everywhere that night. There were so many people at the stage door Clay came out on the roof to wave goodbye to us all.

Then, all heck broke loose.....the album, "On My Way Here" dropped, Parker was born, Clay decided to tell the public he was gay and all of a sudden he was back in Spamalot in September, his run to continue until January 4th. So, another "finale" to attend, LOL. One's head spins considering all that Clay has had on his plate this year. But, boy, all the stage door pictures and video show a man who is happy, who is glowing and I think is back on track carrer wise as well as in his personal life. There are even rumors he has a very attractive, talented guy in his life and I hope it is true. No more "A Lover all Alone".

It was funny coming back to the show with a new King, Michael Siberry and a new Lady of the Lake, Merle Dandridge.

I think if I could see only one more show I would prefer to see Jonathan Hadary and Hannah Waddingham - maybe just because I saw them first and the roles "fixed" that way in my mind, but at any rate the new players did a good job. Michael played the role in a more comic manner, whereas Jonathan did it kind of dead pan with other players bouncing off him. Hannah, on the other hand, was just much better in the role. I missed her.

Sardi's, the famous Broadway restaurant acknowledged Clay's debut on Broadway by adding his caricature to their walls. As the newest portrait, it hangs on the wall just as you enter the restaurant, but will be rotated, as all the pictures are.

Now, this is a poster!!!!! If every floor on that building is 10 ft, it boggles the mind the length of this one !!!!!

Alas, all good things come to an end. Clay's last night was January 4th. The cast played a lot of jokes on Clay and/or the audience and it was side splitting funny - much funnier to those of us who had been often enough to know where the little extra's were thrown in. For example, when Clay does the yodel, Lance and Galahad usually pull him back in line....this time they left him out there and he had to move back by himself. Or, in the Killer rabbit scene when the knight is be-headed by the bunny...this time he gets up, headless, and takes a bow. Funny stuff.

The show closes January 11th, although the touring company will continue. Richard Chamberlain will join the cast in the King Arthur part and Merle Dandridge will continue as the Lady of the Lake.

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Ashes said...

Lucky you to have seen Clay on the big stage. Wish you'd been the peasant though :)


Anonymous said...

Great blog! You did a wonderful job summing up one heck of year in the fandom. It wasn't always an easy year, but it's one I wouldn't trade for anything.

Here's to the future!

Chardonnay said...

Hi haven't yet gotten around to checking out the new blog you posted about upstairs... but this recap was great. I enjoyed it!

You do some really awesome scrapbooking too!