Something Rotten Blends Renaissance With “Right Now” Broadway Hits

Posted January 12, 2017 by Cheryl Fenton in Theater & Arts
Something Rotten. Photo courtesy of Boston Broadway

We all have that one person who drives us insane with all their one-ups – the Instagram shots that are always perfect, the Boomerang clips with LOL timing. Even their hashtags are more #onpoint than yours. They know just what to say and when to say it. Face it. They are latté foam art in your regular coffee world. It’s rotten, isn’t it?

Now imagine it’s 1595, and you’re a struggling playwright. And your nemesis is William Shakespeare. No pressure, right? For a short time in January, the Boston Opera House feels your pain and laughs about it (with you, not at you, of course).

Something Rotten!, a new musical comedy from the director of Aladdin and co-director of The Book of Mormon and the producer of Avenue Q and Rent, launches its national tour with an upcoming Boston run. As part of the 2016/2017 Lexus Broadway In Boston season, the performances are from January 17 to 22 and you can consider this what happens when 16th century Renaissance meets 21st century Broadway.

Something Rotten! tells of an entertaining Elizabethan England where brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom (played by Broadway alums Rob McClure and Josh Grisetti) are two struggling playwrights trying to best the Bard (played by Adam Pascal). Between Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies, how can they compete? Desperate to figure out how to become noticed from behind the shadow of their high-brow competitor, the Bottoms hit rock bottom and visit a soothsayer. This fortune-teller tells tale of the next big thing in theater – a show with a triple threat of singing, dancing and acting.


Something Rotten begins January 17th. Photo courtesy of Boston Broadway.

Off the brothers Bottom go to write the world’s very first musical, a ground-breaking performance they entitle Omelette. Of course, there are a few cracks in their plans when Shakespeare begins poking his nose in. But along the way, the audience enjoys a hysterical parody of some of Broadway’s greatest hits, from Phantom of the Opera to Les Miserables. You will certainly see why Something Rotten! was called “the funniest musical comedy in at least 400 years” by Time Out New York. In addition to Pascal, McClure and Grisetti, the touring cast also features Maggie Lakis as Bea, Autumn Hurlbert as Portia, Scott Cote as Brother Jeremiah, Jeff Brooks as Shylock, and Blake Hammond as a little guy known as Nostradamus.

When Something Rotten! first took the stage on Broadway in 2015, it was anything but rotten. It had them rolling in the aisles and garnered ten 2015 Tony Award nominations, including Best Score, Best Musical, Best Choreography, Best Direction, and Best Book (by Golden Globe Award and Tony Award nominee Karey Kirkpatrick and best-selling author John O’Farrell). Directed by Casey Nicholaw (a Tony Award-winning king of choreography with the likes of The Book of Mormon and Aladdin), the show also features a score of music and lyrics by Grammy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Wayne Kirkpatrick alongside Karey Kirkpatrick.

Maybe seeing Something Rotten! will be your chance to one-up the one-upper. Because after all, all the world’s a stage. And we are merely Snapchatters.

Performances are scheduled for Tuesday, January 17, at 7:30pm; Wednesday, January 18, at 7pm; Thursday, January 19, at 7:30pm; Friday, January 20, at 8pm; Saturday, January 21, at 2pm and 8pm; and Sunday, January 22, at 1pm. Boston Opera House is located at 539 Washington Street in Boston.