“Spamilton: An American Parody” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – June 15, 2019


Hormel Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre Company
Phoenix, AZ

If you know current and historic Broadway musicals well, you will adore Gerard Alessandrini’s “Spamilton: An American Parody” that opened recently in a smashing touring production at The Phoenix Theatre Company.  The musical spoofs Lin-Manual Miranda’s hit musical “Hamilton” and a spot-on company draws every comic nuance from the show.

Alessandrini previously wrote the popular “Forbidden Broadway” spoofs that ran a long time off-Broadway.  Although Spamilton” lampoons “Hamilton” it lambasts but never ridicules the show and, like the “Forbidden Broadway” shows, it slams several other Broadway musicals.  What is amazing about Alessandrini’s send-up of “Hamilton” is that it mocks with reverence and is never mean.

There is one problem with “Spamilton” and it is not with either the witty show or the sharply comic production.  To fully appreciate “Spamilton” you must have more than a passing knowledge of its namesake show and the musical theater genre.  This includes a thorough grasp of musical theater quirks and oddities.  On opening night a capacity crowd laughed a lot but during several sequences there was little response because the local audience didn’t connect the slams coming from the stage.  The jabs are quick and rapid flying by with fast paced mockery.  So the hysterical show and its craftily clever cast earned less audience merriment than the show deserved.

Part of “Spamilton’s” success is because this touring cast has worked together over a long time refining comic timing, sharpening the show’s brisk pacing, perfecting comic line deliveries, and squeezing every morsel of wild malarkey from each comic gem and hilarious nuance of Alessandrini’s clever puns.  But don’t let a lack of understanding of the musical theater keep you from “Spamilton.”  Without the background you will still laugh but some truly memorable slams will be missed.  It is too bad that TPTC couldn’t present a musical theater primer before “Spamilton” to help audiences with this show.

With such an ensemble piece, it is hard to single out individual performances but Adrian Lopez does a glib Lin-Manual as he leads the show on its comic journey.  Paloma D’Auria plays all the women including a mean Liza Minnelli and a brittle Barbra Streisand.  Chuckie Benson, Brandon Kinley, Dominic Pecikonis, and Datus Puryear each have their own moments of comic mayhem.  Curtis Reynolds accompanies with musical gusto.

Like the “Forbidden Broadway” shows, there’s not much scenery but there are comic stabs at “Hamilton’s” original costumes and the myriad of props are inspired by “Hamilton” but are grossly overblown adding to the delicious comic mayhem.

“Spamilton: An American Parody” continues through August 11.  For tickets, call The Phoenix Theatre Company box office at 602-254-2151 or order tickets online at www.phoenixtheatre.com.

Grade: A