Entertainment

Aiken Reveals Backstage Secrets of 'Spamalot'

Posted February 28, 2008 7:56 a.m. EST
Updated February 28, 2008 11:43 a.m. EST

— From singer to actor, Raleigh native Clay Aiken is taking a spin on Broadway in "Monty Python's Spamalot.” He plays several roles, but mainly Sir Robin.

Backstage at the Shubert Theatre recently, Aiken walked by the Wall of Fame.

“I have not made my way on here yet. Apparently, I’m not quite there,” he said.

Aiken might not be there yet, but another Raleigh native is.

“Lauren Kennedy of the Kennedys of the Kennedy Theatre downtown. She was the Second Lady of the Lake in Spamalot,” he said.

Aiken goes through several costume changes during the play, but he keeps ripping one in particular.

“Literally, they’ve had to modify things to make it work for me, because they’ve never had someone dance quite as well as me,” he joked.

So, where is the rip?

“Right in the crotch, as a matter of fact,” he said.

Wigs are another part of his costume. He wears three, and they’re all made out of real hair.

“Look! Even my wig is going gray from all the stress. Look! Do you see that?” he laughed.

Aiken’s dressing room is “sooo spacious,” he joked.

Besides the wigs, costumes and dressing room, Aiken says theater is tough work.

“I’ve dropped a line here or there, and it’s always, you know, quite interesting when it just gets silent on stage. And I think to myself, ‘Is someone supposed to be talking? Oh! It’s me! I’m supposed to say my thing,’” he said.

Clay's big solo comes in the second half. Sometimes it's hard to breathe, he said.

“Whenever the male ensemble starts singing, I stop singing, because I have to breathe. And I can’t breathe if I keep singing, so I’m just mouthing it. The secret’s revealed,” he laughed.

One of Aiken’s fans said she has seen “Spamalot” 17 times.

“(It’s the) funniest show on Earth, and Clay is fantastic,” said Evelyn Clasicas.

“He’s funny,” said Lindsay Reiss. “I thought this role was perfect for him.”

The role was modified a bit for Aiken, with a reference to the launch of his career. He took a shortcut to Broadway and said he was initially worried about how the other actors would treat him.

“Everybody’s been really great. And not one person, and I’d tell you if there (were), I’d tell you their first, last name and address. And nobody has been anything less than wonderful,” he said.

Aiken’s last performance in “Spamalot” is May 4.