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:: By Megan Lisagor

:: Photo by Dan Dry

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Peer Review ::

On stage

Tony and Academy Award–winning director Mike Nichols, X’53, returned to the Windy City this winter to mastermind a medieval musical comedy. Monty Python’s Spamalot, an adaptation of the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, debuted at the Shubert Theatre before heading to Broadway.

image:  on stage

Best known for the The Graduate, Nichols currently has projects on both the big stage and the big screen. His 2004 film Closer, a look at adultery based on Patrick Marbers’s 1997 play, earned five Golden Globe nominations and won two: best supporting actor and actress.

Nichols got his start in local theater. In a December 10 Chicago Sun-Times article he recalled attending a production of The Matchmaker while at the University. “I saw that show three times, and by the third time—about 20 minutes into the first act—I thought: Now I know what style is. It’s starting something in such a manner that what needs to happen later in the show can come straight out of that beginning.”

The Nichols style—an ironic sensibility, as one film critic put it—has won a loyal following. Commanding such big-name actors as David Hyde Pierce and Hank Azaria (Spamalot), Jude Law and Julia Roberts (Closer) doesn’t hurt with audiences either.