Something Rotten! is a broad campy comedy about the making of a musical, similar in feel to The Producers and Spamalot. The musical-within-a-musical concept allows the creators to satirize the form while still remaining true to it. Our story takes place in the late 16th Century ("Welcome to the Renaissance"), the blossoming of art and culture, as well as toilets that flush (into the street). Playwright Nick Bottom needs a hit, but Shakespeare is hogging all the glory. So Nick pays a soothsayer to tell him what the next big thing is theater is going to be, and this Nostradamus sees Shakespeare's greatest work Hamlet, as well as the birth of musical theater. Except that he gets things a bit jumbled (fortelling the future isn't an exact science), so what Nick ends up writing, with the help of his sweet lovesick poet brother Nigel, is a mash-up of Hamlet and popular musicals from Annie to Phantom. Which is great fun for the Something Rotten! audience, but not so much for the Omelette: The Musical audience and investors. Or Shakespeare, who dons a disguise (like many of his characters) to sabotage the play. But as the Bard says, all's well that ends well, and in this case that means the Bottoms head to America, where musical theater is truly born.
|the super cool Christian Borle as Shakespeare|
|Brian D'Arcy James and Brad Oscar with the cast|
Something Rotten! is a really fun show, and if you love musicals you'll have a good time catching all of the references in the dialogue, music, and movement. It may be overshadowed by some other popular shows in town right now, but it's still an excellent choice if you're looking for something to see in NYC, and tickets will be easier and cheaper to come by. Check for discount tickets at a number of websites, or the TKTS booth in various locations.
Read more of my Broadway reviews here.