Something Rotten!, the tour of the 2015 Broadway musical, is in Minneapolis this week, and it is a must see for anyone who loves musical theater. The show itself and the music isn’t all that original. The music sounds similar to that of other popular Broadway musicals, and the choreography, while a joy to watch, isn’t reinventing the art form. The shows genius comes it isn’t ability to reference and spoof all things musical theater. Not only to do you get big song and dance numbers with kick lines, you get jokes about big song and dance numbers with kick lines. The song “It’s a Musical” is sure to make any musical theater lover beam and burst out into a lengthy applause.
I walked into the show knowing very little other than it was about Shakespeare. Although that is partially true our main character is Nick Bottom, a contemporary of Shakespeare and not a big fan. Facing writers block he visits a soothsayer asking what the big thing in theater is going to be, the answer…musicals. He also tries to find what Shakespeare’s master work will be, hear the soothsayer is a bit off leaving Nick Bottom with the answer of Omelette. His goal from this point out is to create the greatest show of all time, Omelette, the musical. We also follow Nick’s brother Nigel who is a fan of Shakespeare, a lover of poetry, who meets and falls in love with a fellow lover of poetry who is also a Puritan. Last but not least we also follow Shakespeare, portrayed more as a rock god than a playwright/poet as he struggles with his own writer’s block. All of these plot lines mix and mingle wonderfully in a very hilarious way.
On the opening of Something Rotten both of the leads of the show were out, which meant the understudies got a chance to shine. Although it is understandable to be disappointed by missing the opportunity to see Adam Pascal and Rob McClure, I have never once been disappointed by an understudy’s performance, and Scott Cote as Nick Bottom and Daniel Beeman as Shakespeare did not break that streak. They took on the roles like the professions they are. Cote as Bottom was so fun to either love or love to hate, but through it all he lead the show with lightness and humor. Beeman as Shakespeare provided all the swagger that you could hope for in a sexy Shakespeare. His performance of “Its Hard to Be the Bard” was one of my favorite numbers in the show. Another standout in the cast was Blake Hammond as Nostradamus (the soothsayer), who lead the show stopping number “It’s a Musical”.
Something Rotten! is a wonderful, hilarious show and pokes fun of musical theater while giving the genre all the love it deserves. It is in town until this Sunday April 8th. Click here for more information about how to get tickets.
*Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel