We get it if you’re a little Hamilton fatigued. The game-changing show—one of Broadway’s biggest hits in years—won 11 Tony awards and is always sold out. And now even its Off-Broadway spoof is selling out shows! Gerard Alessandrini’s Spamilton lovingly satirizes the renowned hip-hop musical’s whirlwind hype and its celebrated creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Interested? Here are the basics.
Do I Have to Sell My First-Born Child to See Spamilton?
Nope. You can purchase tickets online here. If you don’t want to shell out so much cash, try entering Spamilton’s lottery system, which sends up Hamilton’s. (Hamilton has an online lottery where patrons vie for the chance to win $10 tickets. In Spamilton’s case, you show up in person 40 minutes before curtain time to place your name in a lottery and a chance at 10-cent tickets.)
So…What Am I in for?
Spamilton doesn’t have a plot, per se; rather, the show is a series of songs and sketches roasting Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Great White Way at large. It’s fairly short (the Off-Broadway show is only 80 minutes long, with no intermission) and lean (the music comes from one piano player on stage). The Triad, the show’s Upper West Side home, is an intimate venue with a two-drink minimum per ticket.
Will I Enjoy It if I Haven’t Seen Hamilton?
You could be totally oblivious to Hamilton (although you definitely aren’t) and still find the show hilarious. That said, it helps to be familiar with Hamilton’s story, both onstage and off, along with other Broadway tunes and pop stars. For example, one song spoofs current (and recent) musicals by imagining them as mashups, like An American Psycho in Paris and The Lion King and I. And watch out for Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” dance moves, plus lyrics to songs from Guys and Dolls and Annie. There’s also a wicked take on the sentimentality of Hamilton’s final number, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.”
There’s No Way I’m Seeing Hamilton Anytime Soon. Will I Learn Anything About Hamilton from Spamilton?
It depends on how many times you’ve listened to the soundtrack and your familiarity with the show’s original cast. Although we knew the songs, we learned what Hamilton actors look, act and sound like, along with Miranda and Daveed Diggs’ (partial) life stories, Miranda’s love of Stephen Sondheim and how Hamilton’s rapid-speed rap can sometimes be hard to follow along with (the source material’s “What’d I Miss?” here becomes “What Did You Miss?”).
Is It Actually Funny?
Yes. The jokes are a mile a minute. Some of the standout songs include “The Film When It Happens” (mocking Hamilton’s “The Room Where It Happens”), in which actor Chris Anthony Giles sings about casting movie stars for a film version of the show, and “Straight Is Back” (a take on the other show’s “You’ll Be Back”), in which a King George impersonator sings about how hetero characters are becoming more popular on Broadway—much to the chagrin of Kinky Boots and Hedwig. The teasing of Miranda—including bits about his voice and inspirations—can be pretty sidesplitting as well. (We still love you, Lin-Manuel!)
Will I Feel Like I’m Watching Hamilton?
Um, no. This show is based on the rise of a different ambitious genius from NYC. Yes, the performers resemble their counterparts, down to the Daveed Diggs–inspired hairdo sported by Nicholas Edwards. And sure, just like their Broadway colleagues, the cast members are adept at singing and rapping. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Still, Spamilton’s silliness, historical inaccuracies and bare-bones set make for an immensely enjoyable evening.