Theatre Review: Spamilton, an American Parody, the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre

OK. I missed taking a photo of the marquee but this seems appropriate, casually laying my programme down with a glass of (draft?) Chardonnay in Harlem to write a little review, as this show was a little more casual, and lighter, than the others I’ve seen.

Though I don’t need to really do a review. There are some fine reviews out there already, such as this one in Cabaret Scenes and this recent one in the New York Times which is actually an update of an older review.

In any case, I figured that since I wouldn’t be able to see Hamilton while in NYC, I might as well see Spamilton (and I missed the rush tickets for Little Foxes).

I’ve seen at least one of Gerard Alessandrini’s Forbidden Broadways before (and heard more soundtracks). He’s witty, funny and talented… and a keen observer of Broadway. So turning his attention to the hottest show of the century is appropriate.

He combines the songs and structures of Hamilton with a larger commentary on the success of the musical itself and the fame of its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and how Hamilton fits into or doesn’t into the Broadway canon.

The more you know musicals, the funnier it gets, with ample snippets of Sondheim, and references to new and old musicals, as well as various celebrities. I laughed sometimes as much in recognition as humour, and I wonder who else recognised ‘NYC’ from Annie, or the jokes about Sondheim’s Assassins (certainly not the young Hamilton fans sitting at the top).

Still, I think there’s enough humour and amazing performances whether you recognise the jokes and songs or not. I loved Glenn Close disguised as the witch from Into the Woods begging for Hamilton tickets (just as I was begging for them). There were some hilarious mashups (Avenue Crucible, the Lion King and I). Blink and you’ll miss references to choreography from certain shows, some lesser and more famous shows, or various talents. I liked the potshots at British musicals. The way Annie appears in the show is clever and memorable (particularly as the last time I saw a show, he’d worked in Annie, I think it’s one of his favourite jokes.) The actors were amazing with powerful singing voices and parodying talents.

I was familiar enough with the Hamilton soundtrack (as I couldn’t get tickets to the damn show) to appreciate the parodies and riffs on the various songs, ‘My Shot’ and ‘I’ll be back’ (made into a song about how ‘straight is back’ and gay themes and musicals are out of fashion).

Really, a very fun hour and a half.

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