The attacks on Israel led to an “in-depth group discussion” — behind the scenes of the hilarious Broadway hit “Spamalot” — about how to handle a joke about Jews in the entertainment business.
There’s a song in the second act of the Monty Python musical called “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway.” It’s sung by Michael Urie and he brings down the house with the line, “We won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews.”
Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, who plays “The Lady of the Lake” in the show, told Page Six in an exclusive interview that producers were aware that the war in Israel, as well as the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the US, would affect how the gag lands.
“We were in rehearsals when the Hamas attack started and we were concerned because we wanted to be aware and sensitive,” she explained.
“And we had a very in-depth group discussion. We sort of made the decision that the best way to proceed was to infuse the number with joy and celebration. And the celebration of the Jewish contribution to the arts, which is huge.”
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Kritzer stressed that the song is in the “spirit of the show,” which is “joy.”
“I feel like we have been embraced by people because they want that right now,” she shared. “They want joy and they want laughter and our aim here is to have a good time. We can’t fix the world’s problems but we can provide a place where people can laugh together.”
The Broadway show, loosely based on the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” debuted on Broadway in 2005, where it picked up 14 Tony nominations and won three.
The show also stars Ethan Slater, James Monroe Iglehart, Taran Killam, Nik Walker, Christopher Fitzgerald, and Jimmy Smagula. Kritzer stressed that it really is an ensemble production, calling her castmates her “brothers” and sharing that they are all having a ball on stage together.
Kritzer, 46, who was most recently seen in “Beetlejuice,” has received rave reviews for her turn but shared that it’s been a struggle at times.
She remembers being up for a big role in a show and being told by a veteran producer that she was “past your time” when she was in her early 30s.
Thankfully the Drama Desk nominee used the criticism to her advantage.
“I got angry and I got determined,” she remembered with a laugh. “I’m actually grateful to that person saying that because maybe that’s what I need to stick through and here I am because now I’m better than ever!”