January 23rd, 2005

I made my first ticket purchase on eBay last night: for tickets to Spamalot, which is just closing its run in Chicago on its way to Broadway. Two seats for $199 seemed like a good deal, as I have heard that the really good ones are going for as much as $500. I have to admit to a lot of anxiety: I purchased the tickets at 8 p.m. on a Friday night for a 2 p.m. matinee the next day. I got the seller’s phone number and left him an anxious message in case he didn’t check his e-mail right away. Not to worry: the tickets were there the next morning; I printed them out from the PDF file, took them to the Shubert Theater, and was relieved when they were scanned and turned out to be “as advertised.”

The seats turned out to be excellent, but not for the reason the seller supposed. There was a partial obstruction from the level above, but the seats were in an area of the theater where the staff sat. And who should sit right behind us but the author, Eric Idle himself. Idle impressed us with his generosity in signing playbills (yes, I got one). Most of the time, he watched the show seriously, mouthing all the songs to himself. A little boy came up to him and praised his performance in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The show was great entertainment and will be a smash hit. It does appeal to people like me who know every Monty Python TV sketch by heart. It was not quite the hilarious, nonstop riot that the Producers was when we saw it here in Chicago in 2001. The Producers actually had a story, and there was an actual relationship between the main characters. This was more like a looney revue, a series of sketches loosely strung together, but beautifully done. Hank Azaria came up with one crazy accent after another; he was terrific, as was Sara Ramirez as the Lady of the Lake. It is tasteless, outrageous, and silly, and worth every penny if you can get a ticket. Look on eBay if you do…