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Sir Laugh-a-lot?

March 22, 2007 By:
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The knights belong to Jews in "Spamalot."
Jonathan Brody -- Broadway baby?

Well, more Baby Boomer: The Englewood, N.J., native son recalls watching as an audience member the number "I Can Do That" from "A Chorus Line" and thinking, "I can do that."

Indeed, he did; and it did a number on him: Years later, Brody performed the song and dance delight in the first summer-stock production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, which he did for love.

What he prizes now, at 43, is his multitude of roles in "Spamalot," the Monty Python Broadway send-up of the best barbecue restaurant in the world now at the ...

Uh, back up on that a bit ... Not the holy grill? No: "The Holy Grail," the classic Python 1975 fractured fairy tale of a flick in which King Arthur's round table knights tabled any idea that sounded sensible in their impossible pursuit of the implausible and their fiercely fatal attraction to killer rabbits.

Nigh, is that the Knight of Ni on the horizon? And who -- except his dermatologist -- would have guessed that Lancelot was destined to have such a bad skin condition?

But look on the bright side of life, Jonathan Brody; you're a member of one of the brightest hits to hit Broadway -- and, now, Philadelphia, where the Mike Nichols-plated three-time (as compared to the two-timing Lancelot) Tony Award-winning musical is at the Academy of Music until, well, until the cows come home.

Or would that be the horses, which would make it even longer beyond its April 8 local closing because that whole business about clip-clopping horses is such a shell game to deal with -- one in which Brody braves the storms of applause each night.

But then, as one of the French guards and ensemble members, Brody is key to the controlled chaos of quixotic castle keepers in the show. After all, one of the most lyrical of the musical's mishuga of songs by Python Eric Idle and John Du Prez cautions "You Won't Succeed on Broadway (If You Don't Have Any Jews)."

Lucky for "Spamalot," then, that Brody is that Broadway anomaly -- a musical Star of David.

"From my own experience," says the Python-pitched performer, "there are always Jews in a Broadway show -- including me."

Hits chockablock with Hebrews? He's been in a lot of them. A veteran of "Titanic" who went upstage with the ship, Brody also escorted Joan Rivers onstage in his role as Lenny Bruce in the undervalued "Sally Marr ... and Her Escorts."

Bottle his many talents and you'll have a crowd-pleaser, which the producers of "Spamalot" have done: Brody's one of the bottle dancers in a "Fiddler" takeoff that would knock the Fiddler right off his roof and on top of the castle spire.

But Brody has bragging rights to such a traditional treat, schooled as he is in the rites and rituals of Judaism; the one-time yeshiva bucher bucks ambitions, however, for a future filled with song and dance.

No filtering this message from the "Spam" male with a good head on his shoulders and great shoes on his dancing feet: "I get my kicks doing straight plays rather than musicals," but he's thrilled to throw in his lot -- just how far can he toss it, by the way? -- with "Spamalot" for now. 

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