Spamilton is still a laugh-out-loud romp that leaves nearly no musical un-burned, with new faces and material in its new home at The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (304 W. 47th St.).
When you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. And when you can’t snag tickets to Hamilton: An American Musical, enjoy Spamilton: An American Parody and relish the thought that you could be anywhere in the world tonight, but you’re here in New York City… where the talent is just as fresh off-Broadway. As those 4 p.m. $10 #Ham4Ham lottery loser emails keep rolling in, sometimes it’s even better to just laugh at the spectacle of it all and be in on the joke for once.
Spamilton reopened just around the corner from its namesake at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater/47th Street theater (apropos as it honors creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hometown pride) with both fresh faces and takes on the current season (surprisingly, not one Dear Evan Hansen joke to be heard, perhaps temporarily usurping Hamilton as the top ticket in town doesn’t lend itself to schadenfreude just yet). Spamilton received its own critical acclaim, winning Show of the Year at the 2017 Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs (MAC) Awards and Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk nominations. Not to mention, it earned the ultimate seal of approval from Miranda himself.
This isn’t the first you’ve heard of Spamilton, it opened last summer when the Hamilton bubble burst, fresh off a Tony Award sweep leaving no tickets available for the foreseeable future. A delicious running bit in Spamilton features a proverbial revolving door of Guest Divas of yore such as Liza Minelli and Barbara Streisand, now joined by Glenn Close to include Sunset Boulevard, begging Miranda for tickets, only to have him turn around and grovel at the feet of Bette Midler to get into Hello Dolly (and just like at the Tony’s, Lin would have to see the cast perform without her on her Tuesday break).
Paying homage to a master at cramming a lot of history into multi-level rhymes is no shorter order. Gerard Alessandrini cleverly weaves many of the anecdotes that make up the canon of how Hamilton came to be right into Miranda’s lyrical framework: Miranda as the prodigal son who kept “writing like he’s running out of time,” Daveed Diggs being plucked from hip hop ciphers to bless Broadway, and the risk Miranda took potentially alienating the target Broadway audience (the elderly, mostly Jewish or tourist population) by focusing on hard and fast rapping. Ultimately, it seems he’s taking a page out of his hero Stephen Sondheim’s book, the OG scribe known to pack too many syllables in a phrase and somehow make the rhyme and storyline work.
A crowd favorite was the nod to Hamilton’s ambiguously effeminate King George III by reworking his three-song arc to become “a message from ‘The Queen.’” He laments that Broadway has begun to pander to straight audiences. Perhaps Neil Patrick Harris is to blame—the point of no return may very well be his 2011 Tony opener proclaiming that “Broadway has never been broader—it’s not just for gays anymore!”
The rest you should see for yourself, it’s a fun evening in testing your knowledge of musical theater references at the very least, and the versatile, talented cast is being given the audition showcase of a lifetime. You definitely want to be in the room where it happens (before they make the film, when it happens.)
Tickets range from 425-$113 and are available at spamilton.com.