Beware of spoilers…
Well, Hamilton dominated the world of Broadway in 2015, which derailed the success of other shows. So, what does Gerard Alessandrini, the mastermind of Forbidden Broadway, do when his subject matter is limited? He turns to the greatest star on Broadway and goes for it. The jokes start rolling from the moment you see the Spamilton logo of Hamilton thumbing his nose rather than raising his fist in triumph. This will not be an American musical, but it will be a great American parody.
Spamilton riffs on Lin-Manuel Miranda as much as it does Hamilton. This show is the perfect tribute to Hamilton, Miranda, its cast, and the hysteria that surrounds Hamilton. Alessandrini pays homage to many other great Broadway shows, which is apropos since Miranda does the same in Hamilton. Both Alessandrini and Miranda are geniuses at blending references to other shows into the plot of the current show.
There are five main actors in the show that play countless characters. All of them are outstanding, and their versatility is astounding. Nora Schell is amazing. Her voice is sensational as she portrays all three Schuyler sisters. Dan Rosales could have been Miranda. He perfectly captures Miranda’s energy while adding an overdone stare to give it a little jab that adds to the fun. Juwan Crawley was especially hilarious as Annie in drag singing “Tomorrow.” (How does Annie fit into Spamilton? You have to go see the show to get the secrets.) Nicholas Edwards is phenomenal as Daveed Diggs. The wig is a character on its own! Finally, Chris Anthony Giles is terrific as Leslie Odom Jr. portraying Aaron Burr. Both Schell and Crawley graduated from BFA programs in May 2016. Be on the lookout; all of these actors are rising stars.
One of the funniest running gags is the beggar woman from Sweeney Todd begging Miranda for tickets to Hamilton instead of alms for a miserable woman. Miranda would recognize her and pull her hood down to reveal a diva desperate to get into Hamilton. The divas include Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, and Audra McDonald. With Audra, Miranda exclaims that she is washed up and a has-been since she hasn’t won a Tony in months. The Shuffle Along pregnant version of Audra is joined onstage by Brian Stokes Mitchell as they imagine themselves playing the Roosevelts in a Wheels of a Dream parody.
Barbra comes out to announce the Musical of the Century, and the nominations are Hamilton, Hamilton, Yentl, and Hamilton. She adds that she wants to be in “The Film When It Happens.” Another great take is a rendition of “My Shot,” which is spoofed at different times with “I’m Not Throwing Away My Pot” and “I’m Not Going to Let Broadway Rot.” There is an epic Sondheim riff which highlights the adulation that both Miranda and Alessandrini feel towards Sondheim. Just as King George steals quite a bit of the show in Hamilton, he does the same here when he announces “Straight is back” and shows like Kinky Boots are on the way out.
Any Broadway fan will love this show. If you are part of the Hamilton hysteria, you will love it a bit more. The sheer respect for the genius that is Miranda is conveyed to Alessandrini. Both love Broadway and want the rest of the world to love it a bit more, too.