Proctors Theatre, Schenectady, NY
Spamilton, An American Parody, Created, Written and Directed by Gerard Alessandrini. Reviewed by J. Peter Bergman.
"Don't let them know that in the accents is all your worth, Sir."
This is just an example of the content of one of the funniest parodies you may ever see. When Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the mega-hit musical "Hamilton" he might have expected an edition of "Forbidden Broadway" - the hysterically funny Gerard Alessandrini series of satirical reviews in New York City - to include a number or even two based on his work. Instead, Alessandrini wrote an entire hour and twenty-two minute mini-musical about the show and its creator who was also its initial star. The show opened in 2016. I saw it then at the Triad Theater and thought hysterically funny and an excellent parody even though I hadn't yet seen the Miranda original. Seeing it again only weeks after seeing "Hamilton" at Proctors I am reassured that the parody put perfection to a test as the original now plays in my mind.
Datus Puryear (middle) and cast members; Photo: Internet sourced
Datus Puryear plays the parody Leslie Odom, Jr. who, in Manuel's original, plays Aaron Burr. Puryear is tall, handsome, slender, sexually provocative, golden-voiced and hilarious in the dual roles. When he and Adrian Lopez, playing Lin-Manuel Miranda, duet in the song "Aaron Burr, Sir, Nervous-er" the laughs come quick and stick around for another eighty minutes. Like the original much of the through-composed parody uses rap to create its narrative ambience. And that vocal-styling get the company through the inserted parodies of "Camelot," "The Music Man," "Gypsy", "Book of Mormon," "The King and I," "Sweeney Todd," and a long list of other Broadway hits.
Adrian Lopez as Lin-Manuel Miranda in the second act of "Hamilton"; Photo: Internet sourced
Adrian Lopez is terrific. He is not only a fabulous singer and dancer, he makes a handsomer Miranda, like the original only better. This actor understands comedy and how to make it pay. He is just downright wonderful, both seriously funny and humorously sympathetic. Definitely worth the price of a ticket all by himself, he leads a cast of beautifully talented newcomers through the wonders of parody.
To make matters even better, the stylized, nearly non-stop choreography by Gerry McIntyre is one of the most gleeful aspects of the work on the stage, so good in its relentlessness that it is a wonder the cast doesn't collapse in a heap, exhausted, at the end of the show.
Topping the list of players is Paloma D'Auria who plays all the leading ladies of Hamilton and also appears as Bernadette Peters, Liza Minelli, Barbra Streisand and Emily Blunt playing Mary Poppins. Talent drips off her instead of the perspiration she earns in her non-stop, costume and wig changing appearances.
Lopez and Company: Photo: Internet sourced
Jared Alexander, Rendell DuBose, and Brandon Kinley round out the cast, each of them garnering laughs and applause as they make their many, many character appearances. At the piano is Musical Director Matthew Hougland who must have titanium wrists for the piano never stops playing and the music comes pounded out like horseradish from a jar. I can't say he's the most talented person in the production, but he is the best at doing what he does, just absolutely the best.
This show is just so much fun, so silly and so packed with thrills and chills that the humor spills out all over the stage with the speed and volume of an express train in a long tunnel. It's lengthy stay at Proctors comes to an end on November 2, so put down the history books (you'll learn enough about history in the theater) and sit back and enjoy one of the true treasures of the decade. Spamilton does more for you, fills you up with taste-free humor instead of canned tasteless meat, and still leaves you hungry for more of the same. A delectable way to spend an evening or a matinee, in short.
+ 10/26/19 +
Spamilton plays at Proctors in Schenectady, NY through November 2. For informationand tickets go to proctors.org or call the box office at 518-346-6204.