Pittsburgh CLO Puts the Fun in Summer with “Spamilton An American Parody”

By Linda Harkcom

The Pittsburgh CLO is putting the fun in musical theater this summer by producing the hilarious Spamilton An American Parody at the Greer Cabaret Theater in Pittsburgh.

I recently had the pleasure of seeing this musical spoof of the Broadway hit “Hamilton” that is part of the Pittsburgh CLO’s Kara Cabaret Series running now through August 25.

The show was created by Gerard Alessandrini, who is also the creator of the parody revue Forbidden Broadway. Just as Hamilton follows the life of Alexander Hamilton and those around him, Spamilton focuses on the story of Hamilton‘s founding father, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and some of the lead actors from the original cast as their stories relate to the musical.

Even if you are one of the few people who has not seen Hamilton, you will still enjoy the show as it takes pot-shots at many other musicals, Golden Age and contemporary. But I will say being familiar with the songs from the record-setting, Tony winning musical, and having at least a cursory knowledge of its creator Miranda, will definitely enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the jokes.

If you are lover of musical theater, this show will delight you from beginning to end. The rapid fire jokes written into the music, and the multitude of Broadway icons referenced will have you laughing so hard, and before you know it the approximately 90 minute show will be over. It might even leave you wanting to go back and see it a second time as it did me. With the quick pace of the jokes, I’d love to see what I might have missed.

Miranda is brilliantly played by T.J. Newton. Not only does Newton look like and sound like an over-the-top version of Miranda, but his comedic timing is also impeccable. I started laughing practically from the moment he stepped on the stage and thoroughly enjoyed every number he was in.

The rest of the small six person cast each took on multiple characters, and I was amazed by their quick changes. I was especially impressed with those of Erin Ramirez who took on the exaggerated personas of several Broadway divas as well as representing the female leading ladies of Hamilton. Her Liza Minnelli impression had me howling with laughter.

Both Tru Verret-Fleming, as Aaron Burr/Leslie Odom Jr., and LaTrea Rembert, as Daveed Diggs and others, gave solid performances.

Assistant Music Director Nick Stamatakis not only kept the fast-paced show moving brilliantly with his piano accompaniment, but he also took on the role of King George. Stamatakis had the whole audience filled with uproarious laughter throughout his entire performance. Most if not all of the audience, including our party, even joined in singing along.

But the real stand-out to me and others I knew that attended the same performance was Justin Lonesome who played Ben Franklin, George Washington, and several other characters. Not only does Lonesome have a very impressive voice but he also had great comedic timing. One minute you were in awe over the expertly sung notes he was vocalizing and the next you were bursting with laughter at his delivery.

There is absolutely nothing serious about this show. It is, by design, just a whole lot of fun. The perfect opportunity to escape the soberness of the world for a short time, enjoy some great singing, dancing, acting, and get to laugh–a lot.

Spamilton runs through August 15th at the Greer Cabaret. For tickets, visit Pittsburgh CLO’s site. 

Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer whose writing has appeared in most newspapers in South Western Pennsylvania. She has covered the theatre scene in Westmoreland and Fayette County for almost 10 years. Having raised two actors, she is the author of DearTheaterMom.com where she gives advice to parents who have children in or thinking of entering the entertainment field. She is also the editor of WPAEntertainmentnews.com a new blog focusing on entertainment in Western Pennsylvania.

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