Circus flying high

Python play huge hit

NEW YORK — The horde of rabid Pythonites outside the Shubert Theater for opening night of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” was barely civil to the celebs who tried to make nice from the red carpet.

Clutching their “killer bunny” slippers and sporting “I Am Not Dead Yet” T-shirts, fanatics were saving their homage for the five surviving members of the original Monty Python troupe: John Cleese; Michael Palin; Terry Gilliam; Terry Jones; and Eric Idle, who wrote the new tuner’s book and lyrics (“largely cribbed,” he said, from the 1975 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”) and, with John Du Prez, the music as well.

“Oh, yes, indeed,” Idle acknowledged, “I have been exploiting that material for years.”

“Eric’s sense of humor hasn’t changed a bit,” dryly noted Carol Cleveland, a regular in the troupe’s films and TV series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” “I heard that Eric wrote three spanking scenes for the show and Mike Nichols took them all out.”

Idle admitted, “The spanking scene was, sadly, cut — I promise you that it will be in the sequel.”

Sneaking a peek at Sara Ramirez, soaking up the attention at the after-party at Roseland for her show-stopping diva turn as the Lady of the Lake, Cleveland added, “I was happy to see that they finally created a decent role for a woman.”

Well, yeah. But this was definitely the old Pythons’ night out — and not even Christopher Sieber, shaking his blond curls in the manner of Sir Lancelot, could outshine the glory of their reunion.

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