Thursday October 19th 2017

“Spamilton” An American Parody

Recommended *** Back in time, theater-lovers watched parodies of their favorite Broadway shows in an intimate setting, on a small stage, known as “Forbidden Broadway”. Later, Monty Python brought us the amazing “Spamalot” which parodied “Camelot”, a play that according to the stage notes, J.F.K and Jackie listened to every night. Play it forward to today and rumor has it, that the Obama’s did likewise with Broadway hit “Hamilton”, and so, a new parody was written called “Spamilton” which opened in New York for a short run and has been running for some time.

They have spread out to bring this exciting entertainment to other major cities, Chicago being the one I am writing about, where it is holding stage in the smaller “cabaret” theater at The Royal George Theater in Lincoln Park. I was unable to attend the original opening and due to a very busy schedule had to reschedule several times. They have announced that they are now on an extended “open-run” which means that as long as people want to have a great time, and enjoy 90 minutes of watching some great performers “do their thing”, they will still be there on Halsted Street.

Created, written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini, this is a clever entertainment experience that celebrates the creativity of Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator of “In The Heights” and “Hamilton”), as well as roasting him for his work and then almost all of Broadway’s past as they look at the present and the future. They also pay homage to Sondheim and his remarkable Broadway history, partly to show how what Miranda brings to the stage is his own kind of Sondheim-like wordsmithing ( I am not sure if this is a word, but I am sticking with it).

The cast of five performers plus the pianist/musical director Adam LaSalle ( who does a great solo number of “Gay versus Straight” on Broadway), is powerful. Yando Lopez as Miranda almost looks just like him. Donterrio Johnson, Eric Andrew Lewis, David Robbins and Becca Brown * are the others to round out this cast and they are all quality performers with voices that hit notes that one might never think possible. Ms Brown* has a range that is amazing and has the ability to pull off spoofs of Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Gloria Estevan, JLO, Liza and many others.

The show is filled with spoof material on many Broadway shows and in particular the works of Sondheim ( “Into The Woods” and “Assassins” BIG TIME). Those unfamiliar with the great works of this gift to Musical Theater may find themselves lost here and there, but for the most part, the cast is having so much fun, the audience just slips into the mood. While there are some remarkable bits, since it would spoil the actual happening, I will not mention any of them, but will say that if you are a “Musical Theater person”, you will have a ball! Please understand that what you are going to see is a parody and that the words of many numbers you know may have been changed or altered to fit what Alessandrini has written. The PLAYKILL ( a spoof of Playbill) says that Lin-Manuel Miranda had no problem allowing the words to be altered. I am sure that he enjoyed it (if he saw it) and while it is not as special as “Spamalot” or even the latest spoof of Broadway/Shakespeare , “Something Rotten”, you will have a blast.

“Spamilton” is playing OPEN RUN ( which means til ?) at The Royal George Theater located at  1641 N. Halsted Street with performances as follows:

Tuesdays  7:30 p.m.

Wednesdays  7:30 p.m.

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sundays  2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Tickets range from $59- $99 and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 312-988-9000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com

for info on the show visit  www.spamilton.com

Valet parking is available plus metered street parking and the Steppenwolf garage/lot can be used. There are several dining spots in the area-

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Spamilton”

  • Becca Brown actually replaced the original Michelle Lauto yesterday, so the pictures are not with her. I will change when they are ready to go.

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