Hamilton took the theater world—and the world at large—by storm when it opened in 2015. It propelled Lin-Manuel Miranda, already riding high from the success of his musical In the Heights, into the stratosphere and the musical about Alexander Hamilton based on the epic biography by Ron Chernow became a household name.
It was probably inevitable, then, that Spamilton would happen.
Spamilton: An American Parody is a musical spoof from the mind Gerard Alessandrin, he of the unflinching, unrelenting, ever-irreverent Forbidden Broadway, a cabaret show that calls out Broadway’s sacred cows with sharp humor and underlying affection. The show has made the rounds in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and London, and now opens in Houston at the Hobby Center.
“This is my first national tour,” says Adrian Lopez, the Tomball native who is starring in the show as Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. “This is also my first leading role.”
The Sam Houston State University alum graduated last year, packed up and headed to New York, where he was cast in the spoof.
“It’s non-stop,” he says of the parody, which chronicles Miranda’s writing of the show and calls for the actors to play not only the characters in the musical, but also the actors who portrayed them. “It’s really funny, too. We do a spoof of ‘My Shot,’ this whole ensemble where I’m rapping—it’s definitely my favorite scene.”
Lopez thinks that Hamilton fans are definitely going to get a kick out of the rapid-fire send-up, but says Spamilton is constructed so that even those who aren’t familiar with the musical will be able to follow and enjoy it.
Ben Brantley of The New York Times called the show “…smart, silly, and often convulsively funny,” and The Hollywood Reporter said it was “infectiously fun.” Like its Broadway predecessor, Spamilton offers the same quickstep, internal rhyming, rap/hip-hop/Broadway show tune mashup to explore how a “whipper snapper/Student of rap/And a Latin/Trapped in the middle of a Manhattan flat/Win Broadway accolades/While other writers kiss the corporate dollar/Grow up to be a hip-hop opera scholar?"
“I had no experience in rapping,” says Lopez, noting he often stayed up till the middle of the night learning not only his lyrics, but also how to breathe properly to sing them. “It’s nothing like what I trained for in college. This was such a huge wake-up call.”
Still, he’s thrilled to see his career off to such a strong start and looking forward to coming to Houston and performing in front of a hometown audience.
“I’m really, really excited,” he says. “I’ve not had anyone from home to see the show, so it’s great to come here and perform. I’m kind of a nervous wreck about it. But it’s a really neat experience.”
Tickets from $41. May 28–June 9. The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby St. More info and tickets at thehobbycenter.org.