Something Rotten Review - A Hilarious Musical Romp of the Renaissance

Shakespeare will never seem the same. Many books, plays, and movies have utilized the Bard's stories and themes, but “Something Rotten,” the Broadway musical at the St. James Theatre, does it in a new way that caused me to coin a new word... sillylicious!

 

 

This fun, outrageous romp is for anyone who likes to laugh, and if you're familiar with Shakespeare's plays or the history of musical theatre, so much the better.

 

 

 

The show begins with a Minstrel (Andre Ward) singing “Welcome to the Renaissance.” It's the year 1590 and the Bard is the hottest playwright in town.  This is a thorn in the sides of two other creative souls, the Bottom Brothers who are yearning to write a hit play and take the focus off successful William Shakespeare (Will Chase) who was once just a poor actor in their shows.

 

 

Nick Bottom (Rob McClure) is the older, married brain of the siblings, who sings and strums his medieval lute while Nigel (Josh Grisetti) is the dumb younger brother and poet who creates the verse, yet thinking he'll never ever get a girl.

 

 

 

Together, they tunefully lament, "God I Hate Shakespeare." which is a preamble to Nick heading to a soothsayer, Thomas Nostradamus (Brad Oscar), to learn what will be the most successful kind of theatre in subsequent times. 

 

Nick learns that plays filled with singing and dancing will be loved by future audiences.  As Nostradamus explains his vision, he and the company break into the show-stopping number, “A Musical.”

 

 

 

Furthermore, Nostradamus foresees what Shakespeare’s greatest work will be... and hoping to scoop his nemesis, Nick starts writing the musical: “Omelette.”  He recruits his brother Nigel to help with the lyrics and Nick and The Troupe sing “It’s Eggs!”   

 

The brothers each have their love interests, of course. Nick's wife Bea (Leslie Kritzer) wants to get a job to help pay for things... and masquerades as a man to do so.

 

 

Nigel falls for the daughter of a Puritan, Brother Jeremiah (David Breach.)  Not heeding her strict father’s words to stay away from the young poet, Portia (Catherine Brunell) becomes infatuated with him. She loves Nigel’s verse and bolsters him to be true to himself... and to make his lyrics meaningful like his poetry, rather than revolve around eggs.

 

 

It's all fun parody and clever twists with references to a bunch of musicals not everyone will recognize... but which definitely generates extra fun and laughs for those who do.  You probably have to see the show numerous times to catch all the quick-paced lyrics and snappy dialog that often have multiple meanings and double entendres.

 

 

The cast is uniformly excellent. Though Rob McClure, Will Chase, Josh Grisetti and Leslie Kritzer weren’t in the original Broadway cast, they surely could have been. They are thoroughly accomplished in acting, singing and dancing and give nuanced comic performances. The wonderful Brad Oscar, who plays Nostradamus is one of the few actors who was in the production from the beginning.

 

 

 

The costumes are lush and raunchy with supersized cod pieces on the men's pantaloons that are used as comic fodder in several numbers.

The show was the brainchild of two brothers, Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, who came up with the concept and wrote the music and lyrics. Wayne is a Grammy Award-winning country music writer; Karey is a screenwriter who brought his writing partner from the film “Chicken Film,” John O’Farrell, onto the project to co-write the book of “Something Rotten.”

 

 

 

Direction and choreography were by Casey Nicholaw who directed “Book.of Mormon” and “The Producers,” both also over-the-top witty and super-successful musical comedies.

 

“Something Rotten” has continued delighting audiences since its official opening in April 2015. When we saw it in September 2016, the crowd stood and cheered at the end. And with good reason – it’s fun, funny, outrageous and, in a word.... sillylicious!

 

 

My recommendation is to get to the St. James Theatre to see “Something Rotten” before it closes on January 1st, 2017.

 

Though I'm no Nostradamus, my prediction is that it will be entertaining audiences and making them laugh in theatres across the globe for decades to come!

 

Something Rotten

St. James Theatre

246 W 44th St,

New York, NY 10036

For tickets:

877-250-2929

Something Rotten website

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