By Ana Keele
The Founding Fathers get a local makeover in the Desert Star Playhouse production of Spamilton: A Parody in Murray. As the citizen of rural Nephi are tired of how they are being treated and in talks of secession from the state of Utah, newcomer Alexandra Christensen (Melissa Cecala/Corinne Adair) seeks to finally win an election and take over the new city. Written and directed by Scott Holman, this hilarious parody on the Broadway Musical Hamilton showcases the Desert Star Playhouse at its best with relatable jokes, fun numbers, and wholesome entertainment for the whole family. The show starts with an introduction from Holman himself who calls this show “the hardest they have ever done at the Playhouse” and gives a quick overview on Hamilton, namely how expensive tickets for the show are. The price of tickets for the Broadway show is a recurring joke throughout the whole of the performance and is hilarious every time it is brought up.
With a minimal set by designers Ken Lineberry, Louis Bitterman, Brian Tolman, Timothy Riggs and Remington Sorenson, the characters are given a chance to shine and play with the stage as a whole. At the same time, the small casts put Justus Jorgenson in several different roles which for me was actually the funniest part of the show. Every time he comes out in a different costume, sometimes doing nothing more than changing his wig, he makes it obvious that it is the same person adding to the atmosphere of the parody concept. His recurring portrayal of The Governor (also played by Matt O’Malley) puts him in an enormous hat that does not allow him any movement besides facial expressions as he sings the song “Come, Come Back Ye Saints” while the audience explodes in laughter. Another stand-out is Daniel Akin (Willie Tyler) who grumbles unintelligible nonsense through the entire performance in such an effortless and hilarious way that I was actually surprised and taken aback when he spoke in a normal voice at the end of the show.
I was worried that with the parody nature of the show things would be over the top and overdone, but Musical Director Ben Mayfield and choreographer Alison Cox kept the normal style of hip hop and rap in the way the songs are sung and danced. This decision keeps the jokes on the actual lyrics and keeps the dance numbers from turning silly. Of course, the real MVP of the show is the accompanist (Catie Omer/David Slack). Sitting right off the stage armed with a piano, a microphone, and sound effects, Omer displays incredible talent as she literally played the entire show.
While Spamilton is appropriate for the whole family, I do have to suggest an older audience. This is due to the fact that is very fast talking and there is a lot of plot in the actual songs that might be missed by younger kids. I was sitting next to a family several young children that had a hard time paying attention throughout the show.
This was my first time going to the Desert Star Playhouse and it did not disappoint. The close proximity to the stage and audience participation makes the atmosphere of the theatre extremely enjoyable. Of course, I can never complain about a theatre that serves food. My mother-in-law Julie had eaten before the show but we wished we hadn’t as they have a full service menu including some “revolutionary” items and drinks specific to Spamilton itself. We did make room for the delicious popcorn provided at each table and a couple of chocolate brownie sundaes, but next time we are definitely waiting to eat at the theatre.
Desert Star Playhouse presents Spamilton by Scott Holman
Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 South State Street, Murray UT 84107
March 22- June 2, 2018
7:00 PM Monday-Thursday (No shows on Tuesday), 6:00 PM, 8:30 PM Friday, 11:30 AM, 2:30 PM, 6:00 PM,8:30 PM Saturday
Tickets: Adult $24.95 Child (11 and under) $14.95
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