Arthur: I am your king!
Woman: Well I didn’t vote for you!
For some reason I smile when January 18th comes around. All I can think about is January 18, 2008. That was the day that Clay Aiken made his Broadway debut in the hilarious Spamalot. Clay played multiple roles. He portrayed a friar, a guard, another guard, and the cowardly Sir Robin, the knight who is a bit of a chicken, afraid of everything and loves to sing.
The role of Sir Robin is a lead part in Spamalot and was originated by David Hyde Pierce. Spamalot is a Tony winning musical. It was directed by Mike Nichols and co-created by Eric Idle. Clay said that the chance to work with both of these men was “a reason to jump at the opportunity.”
The crowds loved Clay, but so did Mike Nichols. He said:
Clay Aiken is amazing beyond that glorious voice. Turns out he is an excellent comic actor and a master of character. People will be surprised by his wide-ranging talent.
Besides the good words from Nichols, Clay also got great reviews from the Broadway critics. The following review by Kathy Henderson was published on Broadway.com. It is a rather long article, but the first paragraph is great:
Everybody knows that Clay Aiken can sing, but—surprise!—he can also hold his own on a Broadway stage. To be more precise, he can hula, ogle scantily clad girls, discuss flying coconuts in a British accent, pretend to poop in his tunic, do a Cossack-style line dance and perform a lightning-fast patter song (“You won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews”) without dropping a syllable. As Sir Robin in Spamalot, the 29-year-old American Idol runner-up appears perfectly at ease in the world of Monty Python—which, he recently claimed, he thought was a person until he saw the show. The “fish out of water” angle of Clay Aiken starring in Spamalot has already led to a couple of snarky magazine articles, including one in New York in which the writer recorded Aiken’s quotes in an exaggerated imitation of his North Carolina accent. No wonder his personal publicist now keeps a sharp ear (and a stopwatch) on Aiken’s interviews. The truth is, Clay is smart guy who knows what works for him, and he was shrewd enough to realize that Spamalot, in its own nutty way, would be a good match for his talents and his sunny sensibility. “If somebody said to me, ‘Who in this cast has never done theater?’ he is the last person I would have chosen,” says Hannah Waddingham, the Olivier Award-nominated British musical star who joined the Tony-winning musical as the Lady of the Lake the same night Aiken debuted. Three weeks into his run, Broadway’s new Sir Robin shared his impressions of life in Spamalot…
Now, if I read that, I would certainly want to see Clay in Spamalot!
I was one of the lucky people who had the opportunity to see Clay on Broadway more than once. I was even lucky enough to sit in the right seat one night and be the appointed peasant of the night. I loved seeing Clay act, sing and dance…”all at the same time.”
I hope that Clay will return to Broadway soon. I can’t wait. Whatever role he chooses will be interesting and exciting.
Did you know that:
- Among the props is a cow that weighs 45 pounds and it takes two stagehands to catapult it over the castle.
- Spamalot uses approximately 40 coconuts per month, supplied by the Coconut King in Florida.
- The “Feet of God” weighs 1,700 pounds.
- It takes more than 80 people on stage and off to run each performance.
- The Electrics Department uses six tanks of liquid carbon dioxide per week to create the low-ground fog effect and uses eight fire extinguishers per week for the Feet of God “blast off” effect.
- Six pounds of confetti are used at each performance.
SueReu has put together a wonderful Spamalot video It’s a must-see.
Did you see Clay in Spamalot?