Theater Review by John Owen Glines
3.5 out of 4 stars
There isn't so much of a story with Gerard Alessandrini's Spamilton as there is a sort of stream of consciousness style rhapsody on the insane effect Hamilton has had on the musical world. Lin-Manuel Miranda is pretty much famous, unable to walk in his own hometown without getting accosted with selfie-selfish millennials. Hamilton has not only taken over the musical world, but even made news for its politics (most of which, unfortunately, seems to have occurred after Spamilton was written). Hamilton turned on an entirely new generation of people to Broadway who are sure to revive the art form (presumably). All of this means, of course, that a spoof was inevitable.
Railing against how out of touch Big-Broadway has become, Spamilton takes you on a trip over the past years’ musicals. All of them, Spamilton assures us, were commended as great musicals for few other reasons than being enjoyed by wealthy tourists and aged Jews. The references are musically and culturally on point, and some of the singing is absolutely wild.
Yando Lopez didn't play Hamilton as much as he did Miranda-playing-Hamilton (and assorted other characters), with Donterrio Johnson, Michelle Lauto, Adam Lasalle, David Robbins, and Eric Lewis filling out the cast and Christine Pedi making a special appearance as various haggard divas of yore. An effectively invisible set, Spamilton makes heavy use of props and costumes (which you have Jamie Karas and Dustin Cross to thank for) and runs non-stop for nearly an hour and a half, which must be exhausting for the cast!
Spamilton runs Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 5 pm and 8pm and Sundays at 2pm, and 5pm at the Royal George Caberet Theater. Tickets run 59-99 dollars and are on sale until May 28th; they can be purchased at the Royal George Theatre's box office online or by calling 312-988-9000.
I've had the fortune of being born to a painter, and since childhood have been involved in the arts in some form or another. After attaining degrees in Music Performance and Cognitive Science from Northwestern University, and after being exposed to the wonderful theater scene there, I realized I'd benefit as an artist if I continued contributing to the community. I believe an important part to being an artist is having exposure to as many sorts of Art as possible. Theater is one of the most variegated arts, and I feel all the richer for playing the small role I have in the Chicago theater scene (hopefully, Chicago is all the richer for having me!)