Spamilton

Gerard Alessandrini with lyrics by David Zippel
The Triad, New York

The Cast of Spamilton

Like most New Yorkers, this visiting critic has not yet managed either to save up the dollars for the grey market or purloin a ticket to see Hamilton. The situation is so tricky that desperate New Yorkers might be reduced to travelling to Chicago or, in the fullness of time, London to see a show that has driven Broadway aficionados bananas.

The good news is that there are more affordable and available alternatives. These include acquiring the lavish script plus commentary book or the original cast recording.

However, Gerard Alessandrini and the team behind Forbidden Broadway have attempted to cash in on the craze by creating Spamilton, the original spoof Hamilton.

The odds are that while some of the visitors to an intimate venue at 72nd Street just off Broadway were using this as a way of getting somewhere near to the dream of really seeing the hottest ticket in town, far more were probably extending the Hamilton experience by enjoying its bastard second cousin.

This show swiftly betrays its roots, as about half of the material takes general pot-shots at Broadway’s finest, not to mention other high profile celebs. This means that if Stephen Sondheim, Liza Minelli or Beyoncé, to name a random selection, ever chanced along to The Triad, they might be a little embarrassed by satirical imitations of themselves.

The other half of the show parodies Lin-Manuel Miranda, genuinely a legend very early in his own lifetime, and his sold-out hip-hop tale of one of America’s founding fathers, as memorialised on the $10 note.

The methodology is scattergun. At times, Miranda and his original cast are ridiculed, though always in a relatively generous spirit. Characters such as Aaron Burr and the Schuyler Sisters (as the Schuyler puppets) also make guest appearances

Some of the songs are borrowed from the show and changed for comic effect, while other Broadway standards are also used in the context of this musical at the same time as the respective original.

The five-strong ensemble, led by Dan Rosales who impersonates Lin-Manuel with some skill, is supplemented by a couple of guests who help to bring the running time up to around 80 minutes.

Spamilton is exactly what one would expect: good light-hearted fun with many belly laughs. The revue team on show was energetic and, as one would expect, appeared to be having great fun as they were entertaining a suitably enthusiastic audience.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher