So I saw Something Rotten a few weeks ago and it was the funniest musical I’ve ever seen!
Something Rotten: The Most Misleading Title of Broadway’s Love Letter
by Liz Lombardi
I don’t think I’ve ever smiled and laughed as much during a musical or play than I did when watching “Something Rotten.” I swear I’m not eggaggerating (see the musical and this makes sense).
I absolutely love musicals. It’s hard for me to say I don’t like a show. I will if I have to, though. But there usually comes a time in every performance when the plot gets a little slow and I start to think “Wow I’ve been in this seat for awhile. I wonder how much is left?” I know, it sounds terrible, but it’s the truth. I never once thought this during “Something Rotten.” I was so caught up in everything that I couldn’t believe when the curtain when down for intermission, and again for the finale. What went through my head this time was, “How has it been two and a half hours already?”
The show is set during the Renaissance, a time when art and culture were the most important things, as reinforced by the catchy opening number “Welcome to the Renaissance” and lead by the very talented and sassy Michael James Scott. It focuses on the Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel, and their quest to write a play that outshines those of fellow bard, Mr. William Shakespeare. Through crazy turns of events, Nick gets Nigel to help him write what will be the first musical ever, a song and dance filled show called “Omelette.” Yes, there are dancing eggs on stage and if that doesn’t entice you to go, I don’t know what else will.
Probably the best part about this show is the dozens of hidden (and not-so-hidden) references to Shakespeare’s works and numerous other musicals. In a real-life parallel to the show, the book, music, lyrics, and idea were conceived and written by two brothers, Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick. I’m calling it now folks, this show will win Best Book of a Musical at the Tony Awards this year. The references weren’t painstakingly obvious and the humor was incredibly witty and refined. If you’re someone who isn’t a musical theatre nerd, you’ll get a lot of the references, and if you really have no idea about musicals, you’ll still be able to laugh along just as much.
Brian D’Arcy James (Next to Normal, Shrek, Smash) has a voice that so perfectly reflects Nick Bottom’s strong desire to beat out his nemesis Shakespeare. James’ acting is sublime – it takes a lot of concentration to hide said concentration while delivering and receiving such hilarious lines.
John Cariani (Fiddler on the Roof) plays Nick’s little brother Nigel, someone who turns from boy to man throughout the course of the musical because of his writing and his love-struck heart. Cariani plays the transition well, making young Nigel an instant crowd favorite simply because they feel for him.
Heidi Blickenstaff (The Addams Family, [title of show], The Little Mermaid) has taken the character of Bea and turned her into a role model for women of any time period. Her anthem “Right Hand Man,” as well as her actions throughout the show, proves that women are just as capable as men, something that is being debated as recently as this year.
While every one does a spectacular job fulfilling the story line, no one stands out more than William Shakespeare, portrayed by Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher, Legally Blonde, Smash). Borle has crafted Shakespeare to be akin to a modern day rock or pop star. Think Beyonce in the sense that everyone goes crazy in her presence and they think she can do no wrong. The Bard puts on many faces in order to get what he wants, and Borle makes each transition humorous, yet incredibly smooth.
The lastest development in ticket sales has been online lotteries, and “Something Rotten” is no exception. Thanks to technology this makes it even easier to win (usually front row) tickets for a decent price ($35). By going to lottery.rottenbroadway.com and filling out the form, you’ll be entered to be one fo the lucky winners for the day!
“Something Rotten” opened on April 22nd and is sure to last a long time, especially with it’s 10 Tony Nominations, including Best Musical and Best Book. It’s refreshing to see original material on a Broadway stage amongst the revivals and shows based off movies, and I think much of the theater community agrees with me. I can only say so much about it, but you’ll have to take my word that this is one show that will cheer you up no matter what you’re feeling. With a cast album releasing this summer, we will finally be able to relive the humor day after day.