May 15, 2015
More like the fevered dream of Garrison Keillor than a mainstream Broadway musical, Something Rotten! skewers the bard and Broadway musicals. Brought to you by the man who directed Book of Mormon, Casey Nicholaw channels the inane and immensely singable production into the national repository of American musicals.
Effortlessly comical, Will Shakespeare (the hilarious Christian Borle) thrives in the public's embrace, while constantly questioning his talent. Once a thespian colleague, Nick Bottom (Brian d’Arcy James) Darcy is a hack writer but his brother Nigel (John Cariani) is a gifted playwright. Set in 1595 Tudor London—cod pods and all, the brew sprouts a Monty Pythonesque-pilgrim Brooks Ashmanskas, and his daughter, the luscious Portia, a confused Nostradamus (Brad Oscar) and lots of guzzling villagers. Grounded (as in earth-mother) and pregnant, Darcy's resourceful wife Bea (Heidi Blickenstaff) dresses as a man (like so many of Shakespeare's heroines) in order to make money, and hey, kick up some adventure.
The villagers tip their way through the town square switching from one character to another while the three rivalrous men plot, scheme, make much ado about nothing while tripping through the bawdy dances giddily designed by NIcholaw.
When the town folk, led by the Bottom Brothers, regale the audience in opening number “Oh God, I hate Shakespeare” you know you’re going to love this spoof of the bard—Great Britain’s finest export and musical theater—arguably, one of America’s finest exports.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis