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Sundance to broadcast Monty Python reunion show, stars begin rehearsals

If you somehow weren’t able to get your hands on one of the tickets for the Monty Python reunion show that sold out in 43 seconds (or one of the dates added after that due to such high demand), you’ll at least be able to see the gang get the old act together again on your TV.

Variety noted on Thursday that Sundance Channel Global has acquired the exclusive rights from Eagle Rock Entertainment to broadcast “Monty Python Live (mostly): One Down, Five To Go” this summer. The special will air live in North America, Latin America, and the Middle East. UK comedy channel Gold will also be airing one of the shows on July 20, the final night of the performance slate.

"We are very excited that not only do we get the chance to screw up on stage, we get a chance to screw up live on TV, too," cast member Eric Idle quipped.

The live show, which was announced last November, is scheduled to go on a 10-performance run starting July 1 at London’s O2 Arena. All five of the remaining cast members will participate in the reunion; the “one down” in the title is a classically irreverent and Python-esque nod to fellow group member Graham Chapman, who passed away in 1989. It will mark the first time Monty Python has done a live stage show in over 30 years, when they performed at the Hollywood Bowl in 1982.

Rehearsals began this week as the troupe members got together to read scripts for the show, which is said to include both new material (such as The Parrot Sketch, naturally) and some old favorites. Laughspin also notes that they said Chapman won’t be “absent” from the show either. Perhaps he’ll be included in the “(mostly)” part?

Carol Cleveland, who appeared on several episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and is known as an “Associate Python,” will be involved as well and said fans can expect “a much bigger show, a much more exciting show.”

“It’s a little bit ruder than it has been in the past,” she added.

Cleveland also said the show will include an ensemble of 20 singer-dancers for “big musical numbers” plus some animation, no doubt showcasing more of Terry Gilliam’s creative talents that fans got so used to seeing on the show.

There actually is one other way to get in on the show if you haven’t. One lucky winner of an eBay charity auction will get to appear on stage with the group on opening night to help out with their famous “Bruce” sketch. The sale benefits The Mercury Phoenix Fund, an AIDS charity formed by members of Queen after frontman Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991. There are reportedly more auctions taking place on other websites to benefit different charities and give winners the chance to appear in one of the other shows.

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