For nearly 40 years, Gerard Alessandrini has been poking fun at the shows and stars of the musical theater in his Forbidden Broadway revues. Along the way he came to realize that the more successful the show, the more satirical he could be.
So not only was it inevitable that he would get around to lampooning that hip-hop megahit, Hamilton, the hottest ticket in a generation, he also recognized it had the potential for an entire evening of parody.
Well, as long as you accept that 75 intermission-less minutes constitutes an entire evening. That is the running time of Spamilton, a spoof so densely packed with puckish humor — and evident affection for its source material — that it makes for a very satisfying night out.
In part that is because Alessandrini gives the show an actual through line, telling the faux-history of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who, of course, conceived, wrote and starred in Hamilton and now — as Spamilton puts it — feels responsible for the future of Broadway. As T.J. Newton, a dead ringer for Miranda, declares (to the tune of Hamilton’s “want” song, “My Shot”), “I’m not gonna let Broadway rot.”
It helps a great deal if you are familiar with the Hamilton score, but Alessandrini has ways of broadening out the show and injecting popular Broadway icons too. For instance, there are a couple of appearances by a cape-shrouded Beggar Woman (from Sweeney Todd), begging for Hamilton tickets, who reveals herself to be Bernadette Peters and, later, Liza Minnelli. Both are played by the sublime mimic, Marissa Hecker, who also manages to become all three of Hamilton’s Schuyler sisters, thanks to a pair of hand puppets.
The entire cast of six is adept at the vocal intricacies of rap, moves well to Gerry McIntyre’s sly choreography and can change personas in the blink or an eye or the donning of a wig. Jared Alexander, in particular, amuses as Daveed Diggs with an unruly moptop, asking the audience “What’d you miss?” of the speed lyrics, a send-up of Thomas Jefferson’s “What’d I miss?”
In one of the more bizarre impersonations, Brandon Kinley becomes Benjamin Franklin as played by Stephen Sondheim. And in his brief appearance as King George III, Miles Davis Tillman leaves a regal impression intoning, “Straight is back/Soon you’ll see/Campy musicals went out with ‘Glee.’”
In fact, there is more than a little camp in Spamilton, and you wouldn’t want it any other way. Fans of Forbidden Broadway will recognize Alessandrini’s glib sense of humor here and enjoy Spamilton until Forbidden Broadway comes back to the Kravis — in roughly three weeks.
SPAMILTON, Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach, Through Sunday, Dec. 5. $49-$55. 561-832-7469 or visit kravis.org.