Long before successes like The Producers, The Book of Mormon and hamilton happened, Broadway felt like a distant land trapped in a time bubble.
If it wasn’t stage productions of popular movies and TV shows, it was something even worse: the same old classics over and over and over again.
Something had to be done to remove the suffocation of the Great White Way. Shows like hamiltonthe hip-hop musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton, written and performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, did just that by introducing deeper themes and new genres of music for contemporary audiences.
Now that hamilton is the musical everyone says you need to see if you value your friendships and relationships, it was time to turn it down a notch or two. Enter stage right Spamilton: an American parody, written by Gerard Alessandrini, the creator of the off-Broadway musical parody Forbidden Broadway. Spamiltons The touring company is bringing its shipment of new and returning Broadway productions to the Coppell Arts Center for two shows on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5.
“I like hamilton“says actor Jorge Blakely, a Dallas native and stage actor who plays Lin-Manuel Miranda playing Alexander Hamilton in Spamiltons tour company. “We all do. This is definitely the show I’d love to get into in my career, but I loved the parodies too. I love a good parody, and Spamilton is the perfect combination of the two.”
Spamilton is not just a parody of hamilton. The show focuses on all manner of Broadway targets, including repurposed stage classics from Mary Poppins, the Harry Potter movies and books, and groundbreaking new hits like The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q. Spamilton’s The story centers on Miranda’s crusade to reinvigorate Broadway with new voices and sounds in a new musical production…within a musical production. If the concept was more meta, the universe could collapse.
“He’s sick of old shows being made and relaunched and we need to do something new and groundbreaking that stays in line with hamilton and the [American] Revolution,” says Blakely. “Anyone can see it even without knowing hamilton and always follow the story, enjoy the tunes and see familiar things if they know Broadway too. There are a lot of hidden Easter eggs in the series.”
Spamilton borrows melodies from hamilton and other musical productions to tell Miranda’s story while mocking the industry with songs like “(I Wanna Be in) The Film When It Happens”, “I Am Not Going to Let Broadway Rot” on looks like hamilton“My Shot” and “Book of No More Mormons” to the tune of the main theme of The Book of Mormonthe Tony award-winning musical, written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q Robert Lopez.
This last song pokes fun at how the success of hamilton eclipsed the edgy musical by Parker, Stone and Lopez with lyrics like “Hello, my name is last year’s hit, even though we used to pack ’em, we’re in the cabin for half price. ”
“There are jokes where it’s like, ‘Oooo, that’s a dig,’ but it’s also done in regards to all these artists and other shows because they kind of look like the ones that came before” , says Blakely. “It’s very clever with the way they pay tribute.”
The production is also performed against a minimalist set as the songs pass between hamilton and other productions, so he leaves the sets to the audience’s imagination. Blakely says that makes pranks even more difficult.
“It’s very broken down, but it’s just to emphasize the story and the actors,” says Blakely. “I personally think it’s more effective that way and a bit funnier that way.”
Blakely says it’s just as fun for actors to send the Broadway machine on even if they yearn to get their own break on the big stage.
“As someone in theater and performing, it’s really funny to see it and hear those jokes and laugh with it,” Blakely said. “So far, the public understands perfectly. It’s funny to hear these things on the shows.”