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'Spamalot' comes to IUP

by BILL on November 05, 2010 12:00 AM

Martin Glyer has gone from quoting “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” at the dinner table to reciting the British comedy troupe’s work in front of thousands.

(Originally posted Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010.)

Glyer will play Sir Robin the Not-Quite-so-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot when “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” the  smash-hit stage adaptation of the classic 1975 comedy, comes to the Fisher Auditorium stage Friday.

The 25-year-old actor grew up in Southern California, first taking the stage at age 6 with a local theater group. He first saw “Spamalot” on Broadway during his senior year at New York University, where he earned degrees in theater and economics.

I said to myself, “‘I have to be in this show, I get this humor, I know this humor,’” Glyer said in a phone interview before a show in Utica, N.Y.

The show opened on Broadway in 2005, winning the Tony for best musical that year. It ended its Broadway run in 2009, and the touring production, Glyer’s first, will go through August.

“There’s no better first production,” he said.

Glyer said “all the stuff in the movie is going to be there” along with lots of theatricality. The silliness, romance and the Monty Python-stamp of approval makes this a production with wide appeal, according to Glyer. As Sir Robin, Glyer is getting to play his favorite role, which was handled by Eric Idle in the film and David Hyde Pierce when it opened on Broadway.

“It was big shoes to fill, and I hope I’m doing well,” he said.

Growing up, he loved to recite lines of dialogue from the film, especially the opening scene with King Arthur being questioned by two castle guards. As Arthur seeks to ask their master if he’ll join his court, the guards only want to discuss why Arthur has two coconut halves that he smacks together to imitate the clip-clop of a horse.

When he took his theater studies across the country to New York, Glyer said one of the East’s biggest attractions was the weather.

“I love Southern California,” he said, “but it has two seasons: it has a summer and something that looks like summer and then it rains about two days.”

After graduation, he used his economics degree for a few years, working full time in marketing research. He took theater gigs at night, but after landing the “Spamalot” part, he’s a full-time actor now. Adjusting to life on the road had him “a little shell-shocked” in the early weeks, but he said the 21-member cast “gets along wonderfully.”

“Anytime there’s a pool (at a hotel), we all end up living at the pool,” he said.

He keeps in contact with family and friends via Skype, and has learned “some of the strangest sleeping techniques” to get some shut-eye during the long hours traveling by bus, where he said it’s not uncommon for actors to sleep on the bus floor.

His eyes are set on Broadway — “I’m sure I’ll get there someday” — but for the time being, Glyer said he’s seeing a lot of the country and with it great concert halls and audiences.

“It’s a beast,” he said, “but I’m enjoying it because it’s a totally different lifestyle.” 

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