In a twist on the new trend in casting leads in West End productions through reality television, Monty Python’s Spamalot is to cast the part of the Lady Of The Lake (currently played by Hannah Waddingham) through a new reality show – on Swedish television.
West End Story, a nine-part series to be broadcast by TV3 in Sweden later this year, has been devised by Anna Carrfors Bråkenhielm, who produced and developed the reality television programme Survivor nearly 10 years ago. In a similar format to recent British reality shows Any Dream Will Do and Grease Is The Word, West End Story sees a panel of judges from the world of musical theatre draw up a shortlist of 12 hopefuls from open auditions held in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo. During the subsequent live shows, one contestant will be voted off each week until there are four left. The final quartet will be flown to London to begin rehearsals for the role of the Lady Of The Lake, returning once each week to Sweden to face the judges and the viewing public for the live programme. The winner will be announced in the finale in February 2008.
Around 700,000 visitors from the musical theatre-loving nation of Sweden visit London every year. According to the press information, West End Story “not only seeks to uncover new talent but also to reflect the undeniable appeal of the West End as a global brand”.
Waddingham has been playing the role of the Lady Of The Lake since Monty Python’s Spamalot opened at London's Palace theatre in October last year. The actress picked up a Laurence Olivier Award nomination earlier this year for her portrayal of the sequin-clad, limelight-seeking Lady.
Written by Python Eric Idle and his long-term collaborator John Du Prez, Monty Python’s Spamalot is based on the film Monty Python And The Holy Grail. The show follows King Arthur and a bunch of hapless knights as they search for the Holy Grail, encountering flatulent Frenchman, killer rabbits and a legless knight along the way.
In other reality news, tonight Lee Mead, winner of the BBC’s Any Dream Will Do, makes his debut as Joseph in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Adelphi.
To book tickets for Monty Python’s Spamalot .