Spamilton: A Spoofy Triumph.
By Patrick Hurley
Tapping into the zeitgeist, and squeezing every penny you can out of it, is just the American dream.
And so a behemoth Broadway hit like Hamilton is a prime target for parody. And thus we have Spamilton: An American Parody playing now through January 7 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. It is a silly, high energy riff on one of the most popular shows of all time and also the current state of the Broadway musical. Using Hamilton as a jumping off place, and anchoring the show around its tremendous popularity, Spamilton is really just a Hamilton-heavy version of Forbidden Broadway. Created, written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini, who also created, wrote and directed all twenty-five editions of Forbidden Broadway, this isn’t really a narrative-based performance, but rather a sort of compilation CD of the best of Broadway. Much like Forbidden Broadway, we are in familiar territory here. We follow Lin Manuel Miranda and his “Rise Up,” as Hamilton slowly changes the landscape of Broadway musicals. Probably forever.
We then veer off into musical parodies of other shows current and past, and there’s even a mash-up section where we see hints of what a musical called “Avenue Crucible” would be like. The humor is completely accessible, but some audiences might need a crash course in Broadway musicals if they want to understand all of the “inside” jokes, but this is not a necessity, by any means, for enjoying the show. Anyone not familiar at all with Hamilton, I’m sure these people exist, might be confused the entire time, but they’d probably still laugh at the ridiculousness of the hyperbolic performances and choreography.
All of the songs are at least amusing. Some more than others. The cleverness of the Hamilton spoofs, however, mostly surpass the other songs in sheer linguistic dexterity, Alessandrini does a great job with the rap lyrics.
The ensemble is also fantastic. They start at a ten and never relent. The result is a high-energy trifle that works as a great eighty-minute escape from the real world. And who doesn’t want that right now.
Created, Written and Directed by Gerard Alessandrini
West Coast Premiere.
Regular Performances (November 14 through January 7):
Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. No Monday performances.
Exceptions: No 8 p.m. performance on Thursday, November 23. Added 8 p.m. performance on Monday, December 18. No 1 or 6:30 p.m. performances on Sunday, December 24.
Ticket Prices: $25 – $70 (Ticket prices are subject to change.)
Tickets are available online at CenterTheatreGroup.org, by calling Audience Services at (213) 628-2772, in person at the Center Theatre Group Box Office (at the Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles) or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre Box Office two hours prior to performances. Groups: (213) 972-7231. Deaf community: Information and charge, visit CenterTheatreGroup.org/ACCESS.
Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre
9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232