Arts & Life, Events, Fine & Performing Arts

Long Beach Musical Theatre West presents ‘Spamilton: An American Parody’

Long Beach Musical Theatre West’s “Spamilton: An American Parody” aims to bridge the gap between casual theatergoers and musical aficionados by delivering candor, rapid-fire lyrics spoofing famous Broadway shows at the Carpenter Center.

Created by Gerard Alessandrini, the show was originally produced at The Triad Theater in New York City before the first regional production, Musical Theatre West (MTW), carried on the new version in Long Beach.

The show is a 90-minute musical that resembles the play “Hamilton” by creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and also indulges audience members in a series of musical numbers that discusses celebrity worship, politics, and show business.

The spectrum of highbrow to lowbrow humor and outright cameos featuring “Annie” and “Wicked” displays a sense of reverence for the musical genre.

Another important element of the show was the musical direction by Wilkie Ferguson III, who strategically played the piano with solemn ease as he transitioned from one musical number to the next.

Courtesy of Musical Theatre West
"Spamilton: An American Parody" will be featured at the Carpenter Center until April 10. Courtesy of Musical Theatre West

“I think this time, post-pandemic, everybody needs a laugh. Everybody needs something lighthearted and upbeat,” Ferguson said. “I think this was the perfect way to reenter the live theatrical experience because we don’t need any heavy melodramas right now.”

Ferguson expressed that he had a “big hole in my soul” that could only be filled with the live theatre experience. This was a sentiment that some cast members shared, such as Dedrick Bonner and Andrew Puente, California State University, Long Beach theatre alumni.

“I think especially if it’s like an audience laughing, it’s fuel, you know, that can get the car going,” Puente said. “After rehearsing for a while and thinking about steps… [you] remember people are going to laugh. You know this is a fun show.”

Many people, comprised of season ticket holders and one-time ticket buyers alike, entered the theater with high expectations and left satisfied, giving a standing ovation at the end of the show.

Despite being equipped with some knowledge from past musicals, biology chemistry major Daniela Torres, 20, said she found it hard to catch all the references.

“The references, it kind of bugged me that I didn’t get them. Yeah, everyone was dying, and I was getting FOMO. I don’t get it,” Torres said. “I’m just going to laugh because everyone’s laughing, but I got some of them because [my sisters] both watch theater a lot.”

Daniela attended the show with her two sisters, Mariam, 24, and Melissa, 22, who said they enjoyed the show.

“We have actually seen the actual Hamilton show already seven times before on Disney plus and at Pantages. But even with my knowledge of the actual musical that they’re referencing, I was able to catch some, but it’s just funny how they combine the art style with the music,” Mariam said.

Musical Theatre West’s “Spamilton: An American Parody” continues through April 10 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 E Atherton St, Long Beach, CA 90815.

Tickets range from $22 to $85 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (562) 856-1999. Proof of vaccination and masks are required. Student rush tickets are available for $15 prior to showtimes.

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