You may not be able to score tickets to “Hamilton” at the moment (or afford them, for that matter), but might you consider a “Hamilton” parody instead?
Gerard Alessandrini, the mastermind behind the wickedly funny, long-running revue “Forbidden Broadway,” has returned with “Spamilton,” a 75-minute parody of “Hamilton” that centers on Lin-Manuel Miranda, who conceived, wrote and starred in the musical and has gone on to become a pop culture icon.
Beginning with a nod to the Obama family’s professed love of “Hamilton,” “Spamilton” follows the enthusiastic and optimistic Miranda as he plots to create a new hip-hop musical after his initial success with “In the Heights,” in defiance of the Disney and British pop musicals surrounding Broadway.
As with “Forbidden Broadway,” Alessandrini takes the music of “Hamilton” (played on piano, accompanied by snapping) and adds his own parody lyrics. Music from other Broadway musicals ranging from “Sweeney Todd” to “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (apparently a favorite of Manuel’s father) is also thrown in.
A versatile and energetic six-member cast portrays the original stars of “Hamilton” (most of whom have already left the show) and other Broadway personalities. Christine Pedi, a master impressionist, makes cameos as multiple divas.
The stage is small and the production values are limited, but the wit is plentiful. At one point, a single female portrays all three Schutler sisters using two puppets, a la “Avenue Q.”
For the most part, “Spamilton” operates as an overstretched sketch, lacking the fast and furious style of “Forbidden Broadway,” in which new targets come and go in short segments.
“Spamilton” also tends to be cute instead of funny, which may be due to Alessandrini’s obvious affection for “Hamilton.” “Forbidden Broadway,” at its best, could be downright merciless.
But “Spamilton” is fun, no doubt about it. After a year and a half of gushing critical acclaim and countless awards, it feels good — in fact, downright cathartic — to take a step back and poke fun at the history-themed musical for an hour or so.