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News / Theater & Performance

Improvised ‘Hamilton’ parody getting a shot from Baby Wants Candy

Saliha Muttalib, Angela Oliver, Chanse McCrary and Colette Gregory in rehearsal for Baby Wants Candy’s Shamilton
Photograph: Josie Benedetti Saliha Muttalib, Angela Oliver, Chanse McCrary and Colette Gregory in rehearsal for Baby Wants Candy’s Shamilton

Well, this was probably inevitable: Chicago is getting its very own Hamilton parody. What’s more, our revolution will be improvised, courtesy of long-running musical improv troupe Baby Wants Candy.

The unprecedented success of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton and the early days of the republic was enough to bring New York’s master musical parodist Gerard Alessandrini (Forbidden Broadway) out of semiretirement for Spamilton. With the Chicago company of Hamilton now settled down for a long winter’s rap, Baby Wants Candy is ready to bring us Shamilton. Unlike Spamilton’s direct meta-parody of Hamilton’s pop-cultural ubiquity, though, BWC is applying the Hamilton bio-approach to a different, audience-selected historical figure every night on the spot, in 80 minutes or less. Genghis Khan? Chaka Khan? Ricardo Montalban? The possibilities are endless.

Shamilton is directed by Baby Wants Candy founding member Peter Gwinn (The Colbert Report), with music direction by Second City regular Jesse Case. The cast includes Jen Connor, Erica Elam, Colette Gregory, Nathan Jansen, Chanse McCrary, Saliha Muttalib, Angela Oliver, Maria Randazzo, Bobby Richards, Patrick Rowland, Sophie Scanlon, Sean Sullivan, Ross Taylor, Nelson Velazquez, Rob Wilson and Shira Wilson. Shamilton will perform at 10:30pm every Friday, beginning January 20 at the Apollo Theater. Tickets ($20) are on sale now.

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