A Knight at the Theater
Further proof that Philadelphia remains a hotspot for Broadway theater: Monty Python’s Spamalot returns to Center City for a second run, this time at the Academy of Music Aug. 14-31. Loosely based on the beloved 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the show hilariously upends the epic tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they search for the mythical goblet. Spamalot offers an ingenious mix of slapstick and satire, unabashedly spoofing classic bits of musical theater, from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s overwrought Phantom of the Opera ballads to the Jets’ frenetic dancing in West Side Story. Based on the sustained response this 2005 Tony Award winner has received from fans and critics, the latest adaptation should have little problem keeping the laughs coming. $30-$138. Broad and Locust streets, Philadelphia. Call (215) 731-3333 or visit academyofmusic.org. —Adam Polaski
There are plenty of legitimate reasons to tune into the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Aug. 8-24, but none more compelling than to cheer on hometown breaststroker extraordinaire Brendan Hansen. The Havertown native made a splash in the 2004 Olympics, bringing home a medal in every color and setting a new world record. In 2006, he broke both of his previous world records at the Summer Nationals, and qualified for the 2006 Pan Pacs and the 2007 World Team. Then, at the Pan Pacs in Canada, he set a world record in the 100-meter breaststroke and lowered the record he had set for the 200-meter event two weeks prior at the USA Nationals. But in a shocking turn of events, Hansen won’t be swimming his strongest event, the 200-meter breaststroke, in this summer’s Olympics after he failed to qualify, coming in fourth in the U.S. Trials. But he will represent in the 100-meter event, competing against his rival, Japan’s Kosuke Kitajima. And while winning is important, what matters most to Hansen—who’s always quick to point out that it’s all about the ride—is coming away with a smile on his face. He’ll turn 27 during the Games, and we’re wagering that getting his hand on the wall first tops his birthday wish list. —Dawn E. Warden
Pool rules this August at the Valley Forge Convention Center, where a week of billiards tournaments and related shopping grab the attention of players and fans alike. First up is Super Billiards 2, a follow-up to March’s overwhelmingly popular Super Billiards Expo. The event, which is free and runs Aug. 3-6, includes the amateur Players Classic series of 8-ball tournaments, the more challenging TAP League Rally in the Valley Take 2: Summer Shark Fest, and a wide variety of vendors selling billiards merchandise. Then, Aug. 6-10, the convention center will host the Million Dollar 9-Ball Shootout, where 200 pool sharks will compete for the championship gold bracelet and their share of the prize money. Both events are organized by ESPN commentator and former billiards world champion Allen Hopkins (pictured). 1160 First Ave., King of Prussia. Call (609) 652-6116 or visit milliondollar9ball.com and superbilliards2.com. —A.P.
For more upcoming events, see our Calendar.