'Messiah' in Idle hands
'Spamalot' creator announces next project
By RICHARD OUZOUNIAN / Daily Variety, 2/14/07
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
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.
[log in to unmask]