THEATER REVIEW: “Spamilton” @ Playhouse Square by Laura Kennelly

Photo by Roger Mastroianni

Through Sun 1/6

Say what you will about Hamilton, Hamilton,/ but ya gotta see it before Spamilton, Spamilton,/ or you’ll be:/ lost. /So study what you can/ (YouTube is your best friend)/ then you can laugh a little/or a lot and say:/ “I gave it my best shot.”

As with Hamilton, the Broadway hit it’s based on, Spamilton ricochets an abundance of wit and words right at the audience. It seemed impossible to hear every nonstop word over the laughter from the previous riposte, especially (and paradoxically) since the sound was loud where I sat. But even though it was impossible to catch every allusion, the ones that were clear poked good-natured fun at musicals and the theater world in general. It helps to be a Broadway fan (hand raised here) and it helps (see above) to review Hamilton: The Musical.

Written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini, this musical parody (Hamilton plus a smattering of other Broadway shows) opens with a tribute to two of Hamilton’s biggest fans, former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle, with a riff off Jacqueline Kennedy’s remark that she and JFK liked to listen to Camelot every night in the White House before they fell asleep (really?).

An engaging Adrian Lopez brings Lin-Manuel Miranda to comic life. Others in the versatile cast (they make it seem like more) include Datus Puryear (a stalwart Aaron Burr), Brandon Kinley (a befuddled King George III and others), Ani Djirdjirian (as all the glamorous leading ladies — especially when she’s serving as a puppeteer), Chuckie Benson (as a wise Benjamin Franklin, super-noble George Washington and others), Dominic Pecikonis (Daveed Diggs and others).

Musical director Curtis Reynolds plays keyboard continuously (no intermission in the 80-plus-minute show) with seeming ease. Choreographer Gerry McIntyre knows how to make the most of the compact set designed by Morgan Large.

BOTTOM LINE: Watching Spamilton is a bit like going to a wild, gossipy party where you know everyone and wish they would spend more time talking to you before they rush off to be clever somewhere else. Recommended for those who know Hamilton and love Broadway.

 [Written by Laura Kennelly]

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