Spamilton: An American Parody visits The Phoenix Theatre Company

By Laura Latzko

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton forever changed the theater scene with its diverse cast

and incorporation of hip hop music. A parody show by Forbidden Broadway creator Gerard Alessandrini lovingly satirizes

the Hamilton creator and other

Broadway stars and shows.

The Phoenix Theatre Company will host the national tour of Spamilton: An American Parody from

Wednesday, June 12, to Sunday, August 11.  

The show references popular Broadway shows such as The Book of Mormon, The King and I, West Side Story,

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet

Street, The Lion King, Wicked, Cats, In the Heights and Mary

Poppins and stars such as Patti LuPone, Barbra Streisand, Andrew Lloyd Webber,

Bernadette Peters, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli and Stephen Sondheim.

It pokes fun at Lin-Manuel Miranda’s journey in creating Hamilton and the show’s overwhelming

popularity.  

Swing actress Marissa Hecker plays a number of different female roles in Spamilton: An American Parody's national tour.

The production has a cast of seven, many of whom play

multiple parts. Actor Adrian Lopez portrays the leading man, Lin-Manuel

Miranda. 

Marissa Hecker, one of two actresses in the show, plays

different female roles throughout the show. 

A recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s

College-Conservatory of Music, Hecker has a background as a singer, dancer,

actress, cartoonist and writer. This is her first national tour.

Acting as a swing means she has to switch from one character

to another quickly, adapting her voice and mannerisms to each role.  

“I’m able to compartmentalize my brain to have all of these

different characters in my head and what I need to appear like, what I need to

sound like. I have very specific images in my head of what I need to do for

each moment,” Hecker said.

In one scene, Hecker plays Angelica Schuyler actress Renee

Elise Goldsberry and holds two puppets to represent Phillipa Soo and Jasmine

Cephas Jones, the original actresses who played the other two Schuyler Sisters in

Hamilton.  

Hecker said the biggest challenge of the show is finding a

balance in playing the characters over-the-top but making them relatable.

“You as the performer understand how ridiculous it is, but

the most important job of an actor is to tell the story. So, you really want to

believe everything that you say,” Hecker said.  

The cabaret-style production is performed in smaller

theaters, with the audience close to the action onstage. During some moments in

the show, the actors address the audience members directly.

The show spoofs popular Hamilton songs with versions such as “Lin-Manuel As Hamilton,” “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Cries,” “Ticket Beggar Woman,”  “What Did You Miss?,” “Aaron Burr, Sir, Nervous-er,” “His Shot” and “Straight is Back.”

“They use songs from Hamilton

against themselves to make fun of its own ridiculousness and its own

seriousness,” Hecker said.

In scenes throughout the show, props and costumes play a

major role in helping to tell the story and reference other Broadway musicals

and personalities.  

The show was designed for both more casual and serious

theatergoers. Hecker said that most audience members will know at least some of

the references.  

“It’s really a show for everyone, both Hamilton fans and Broadway fans,” Hecker said.

Spamilton: An American Parody occurs at various times from June 12 to August 11 at the Hormel Theatre at The Phoenix Theatre Company, 1825 N. Central Ave. Tickets start at $32. Call 602-254-2151 or visit phoenixtheatre.com for information.

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