They turned Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) into a Broadway musical, so why not turn Life of Brian (1979; my comments) — one of my official ten favorite movies of all time — into an oratorio? According to yesterday’s Playbill, Eric Idle and John du Prez will premiere the 50-minute oratorio Not the Messiah at the Luminato festival in Toronto next June:
The world premiere of “Not the Messiah” will be conducted by TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian (who happens to be Idle’s cousin). The work — which Idle states “will be funnier than Handel, though not as good” — is to be performed by a narrator, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, with guest soloists and choir. . . .
“I’m not sure people would allow ‘The Life of Brian’ on stage today,” Idle previously told Playbill.com (Jan. 2005). “You think people would really have a finale where people are crucified? I’m not sure people are ready for this.” He laughingly concluded “I might have to start that somewhere else other than America.”
This could be interesting, since Life of Brian has only two songs, one of them the Shirley Bassey-esque, James Bond-esque opening theme song (hmmm, I could almost imagine a choir chanting, “And his face became spotty… Yes, his face became spotty…”), and the other the infamous ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’, sung by a crowd of crucified victims. So, on a musical level at least, they would have to create a fair bit of new material.