Beale steps in for Curry in tuner

Broadway tuner “Monty Python’s Spamalot” crowns a new King Arthur on Dec. 20, when British thesp Simon Russell Beale steps into the royal role currently played by Tony-nommed Tim Curry.

Russell Beale’s casting marks the first replacement announced for the show’s big-name original stars; end dates for David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”) and Hank Azaria (“The Simpsons”) have not been set. (Azaria, temporarily out of “Spamalot” while shooting the Showtime skein “Huff,” has been replaced by Alan Tudyk through November.)

Russell Beale isn’t widely recognized Stateside, but he’s a much-lauded stage figure in the U.K. Gotham auds have seen him play leading roles in British imports of “Hamlet,” “Uncle Vanya” and “Twelfth Night,” and in spring he was nominated for a Tony for his Broadway debut in the National Theater’s production of “Jumpers.” His last appearance in a musical comedy was an Olivier-winning turn in the National’s 1999 production of “Candide.”

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