I think you all know how I feel about Hamilton. If not, it’s how you feel about Hamilton, if you’ve had the opportunity to be “in the room where it happens”. Everyone, everyone, everyone loves it. And rightfully so. But what now? Where do all the Hamilton lovers go, besides back to the theatre to see it again and again, inevitably leaving them homeless and penniless? The Kirk Douglas Theatre may have a solution for those suffering Hamilton withdrawls. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I suggest Spamilton, An American Parody!
Before you get concerned about hurting the feelings of the beloved superstar (and Hamilton creator) Lin-Manuel Miranda, he’s reportedly seen it and loved it. I believe the quote is, “I laughed my brains out!” So no guilt necessary.
Gerard Alessandrini (creator, writer, director), of “Forbidden Broadway” fame, has made a living making spoofs of Broadway musical theatre favorites for a long time, but I’d be interested to know if he thought twice about touching this much loved show. After seeing it, I’d bet a decent chunk of change he couldn’t wait to get his hands on it. Spamilton is clever and pretty stinkin’ funny. But, Mr. Alessandrini must be a teaser vs. a big bully and this show reflects that. Just good, silly fun. Right up my alley.
Instead of rehashing the historical story covered by the musical Hamilton, Spamilton covers (and yes, let’s say it, pokes some fun at) Broadway’s golden child, Lin-Manuel Miranda and his quest to build a better Broadway. He’s “not gonna let Broadway ROT” and you’ll hear Hamilton (William Cooper Howell) sing all about it in “His Shot” (to the familiar tune of “My Shot”… can you hear it now?). The ensemble cast is truly talented. There are hilarious songs and some entertaining dance numbers and they are all dressed in those cute Hamilton-esque getups (Dustin Cross). There are guest appearances by pop icons Liza Minelli (Susanne Blakeslee), J-Lo, Beyoncé & Gloria Estefan (all Zakiya Young). But, in my book, King George (Glenn Bassett) wins the night with his song “Straight is Back” complaining that Hamilton has sadly made Broadway less gay. Too funny. It’s a virtually bare black stage with a spoof-y logo as a backdrop. The play lives and dies on the clever writing, smart lyrics and ability of the cast to engage. Done, done and done.
So the question of the hour is, would this show be appropriate, and more importantly, entertaining, for someone who hasn’t seen Hamilton? Well, I’d say no, probably not. I think you’d be mildly amused as an audience member while realizing that you were missing a bulk of the jokes. Probably leaving one a little frustrated in the end. And I’ll take it a step further. This show isn’t only written for the Hamilton devotee but for the musical theatre enthusiasts of the land. If Hamilton is the only show you’ve really seen (ok, maybe throw Wicked in there, too) you’ll be missing out on quite a few musical theatre insider laughs. This show is perfect for Hamilton lovers who are all-around musical theatre geeks. Bring your familiarity of the great musicals of the past and you will fluctuate between chuckles and roars throughout the 80 minute, no intermission show.
The best news is Spamilton is cheaper, shorter, with more laugh out loud moments than it’s counterpart… AND tickets are still available. Go get them for some holiday fun!
Kirk Douglas Theatre
9820 Washington Blvd, Culver City
8 pm Tuesdays-Fridays,
2 & 8 pm Saturdays,
1 & 6:30 pm Sundays (call for exceptions)
ends Jan 7th
$55-$99 (but check out the discount sites)
(213) 628-2772 or www.centertheatregroup.org