Spamalot was inspired by the movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and was co-created by one of the movie’s writers, Eric Idle. The title, Spamalot, comes from a line in the movie: “We eat ham, and jam, and spam a lot”. The musical was written by Eric Idle, with additional music by John du Prez and Neil Innes. The musical previewed in Chicago, officially opening in January 2005. During its run in Chicago, some musical numbers were dropped from the first act. The Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols, previewed in February 2015 and opened officially the following month. It featured Tim Curry as King Arthur, Sara Ramirez as the Lady of the Lake, Michael McGrath as Patsy, David Hyde Pierce as Sir Robin, Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot, and Christian Borle as Prince Herbert. The show ran for 1,575 performances, closing on 11 January 2009. It was nominated for 14 Tony Awards, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2005, as well as Best Direction of a Musical for Mike Nichols and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for Sara Ramirez.
Following its premiere on Broadway, three US national tours were launched in 2006, 2010, and 2013 respectively. In 2015, a special three-day production of the musical opened at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles with Eric Idle appearing as The Historian. Spamalot opened in London’s West End in 2006 with Tim Curry reprising his role of King Arthur for the first three months. The production closed in January 2009 but it was revived in 2012, running at the Playhouse Theatre until 2014. A UK national tour began in 2010. The first translated production opened in Barcelona in 2008 and the musical has since been produced across Europe, Asia, North America, and Australasia.