Knocking One off of the Bucket List

Collins as Patsy
Chip Collins as Patsy; Photo by David Barber

Guest blog by Chip Collins

In the spring of 1987, I was a gangly, slightly nerdy, high school junior trying to figure out, as all teens are at that age, who exactly I was.  Many of my friends at that time were seniors, and one Friday night, as we had just had a great previous weekend in Charleston at the State Math Team competition (OK, maybe more than slightly nerdy…) many of them came over to my house just to hang out and watch a movie.  One of my friends was tasked with bringing the movie.

He brought “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Life.  Changed.

From the beginning credits, without a word even having been spoken at that point, I knew that I had found my place.  My sense of humor, which had always seemed different and, to a degree, more advanced than those of my peers, was validated.  I was, at the same time, both laughing hilariously and becoming fascinated at the high level of intelligent humor that came from this movie.

That missing piece of self-confidence fell into place without even realizing it.

The movie even became one of the first things that helped me work on dialects and imitations, even as exaggerated as they may have been, which have helped me all of these years later during my 15+ years on Columbia stages.

So, when I first learned that it was being made into a musical, I became giddy.  And then, learning the identity of the leads (Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria to be specific), I became downright excited.  When the soundtrack was released I obtained it immediately and began playing it nonstop.  So much so that, my then-four-year-old daughter Victoria would start skipping down the hall to her preschool class singing, “I am not yet dead…”

Yes, I received some strange looks.  But, man, was I a proud dad.

Unfortunately, I was never able to make it up to New York to see the production, but I always knew that if the show ever came to Columbia, I would be auditioning.  Whereas, to many people, Les Misérables is their ultimate “bucket list” show to perform in, Spamalot is mine.  And here I am, in the midst of rehearsing with an incredibly talented and funny cast.

And not only that, I get to sing the most recognizable song in the show.  How awesome is that?