At Home With 'Spamilton'/'Forbidden Broadway's Gerard Alessandrini
“How about some ‘Maggie Flynn’?” Gerard Alessandrini asks as he hands me the pristine album cover of the long-forgotten, ill-fated 1968 musical starring Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy.
We are in the album room of the split-level, mid-century home he shares with his husband, Glenn Bassett, overlooking Mill Pond in Essex. The extra room for his collection of thousands of original cast albums was a major selling point and contains every musical you’ve ever — and never — heard of.
It’s an unexpectedly bucolic and serene place for a man whose life has been devoted to celebrating — and satirizing — the razzle-dazzle of Broadway. For more than 30 years, Alessandrini has created more than a dozen Manhattan revues that have run under the banner “Forbidden Broadway.” In 2006 he even received a special Tony Award for his parodies of Broadway’s best — and sometimes worst — efforts.
But of all the shows, nothing has struck such a chord as “Spamilton!” — his musical spoof of how Lin-Manual Miranda has revolutionized Broadway with his mega-hit “Hamilton.” As soon as “Spamilton” opened in 2016 it, too, became a must-see show, attracting crowds that included longtime “Forbidden Broadway” fan Stephen Sondheim and even “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and the show’s creative team.
“Spamilton” is now touring and will arrive for a 3 1/2-week run Aug. 14 to Sept. 8 at West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park, in association with The Bushnell. I will be “in conversation with…” Alessandrini Thursday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Mark Twain House and Museum on 351 Farmington Ave. in Hartford. as part of the center’s “A Little Harmless Fun” series .
Alessandrini, 65, has always been a musical fan at heart, growing up in Needham, Mass., just outside Boston during the waning days of the out-of-town, pre-Broadway tryout circuit.