Something Rotten! lights up Broadway

Manas Sood, Sports Editor

The musical Something Rotten! is a comedy that focuses on two brothers’ pursuit of a better production than Shakespeare’s, whose work is immensely popular at the time. No strangers to the Broadway scene, Christian Borle, who plays Shakespeare, and Brian D’Arcy James, who plays Nick Bottom, lead the cast through this adventure and end up creating the world’s frst musical, which is, of course, a huge success. Helmed by Tony Award-winning Aladdin and The Book of Mormon director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw, the play appeals to Broadway fanatics as well as people who have never seen a musical before, as it is packed with subtle musical theatre references, impassioned performances, and punch lines.

Set in the heart of the English Renaissance during 1595, the setting is perfect for the the opening number, “Welcome to the Renaissance” performed by the Minstrel (Michael James Scott) who gives the audience an unusual insight to some of the marvels during the time period. Francis Bacon has found a way to freeze meat and Sir Walter Raleigh has just returned from his travels around the globe and is on a mission to infest England with substance-addicted inhabitants. Chiefy, the British cannot talk enough about their playwrights, like Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, and Thomas Dekker; however, the star of the play is Shakespeare, whom they cannot seem to get enough of, as they admire his plays with a level of fascination that was rarely seen in theatrical society. It is a true test of character for up-and-coming playwrights Nick and Nigel Bottom (John Cariani), but with the help and support of the soothsayer Nostradamus (Brad Oscar), Nick’s wife Bea (Heidi Blickenstaff), and Nigel’s lover Portia (Kate Reinders), their determination shines through to help them prevail over Shakespeare’s criticism.

As this was the first Broadway show I have ever seen, I did not want to set any high expectations or predict how it would be, but it did not take long to for me to become intrigued by the magic of it all. From the costumes to the choreography and music, everything came together in such a structured way that I had not previously thought possible. Every moment of the play caught my attention in its own unique way.

The heart of the comedy, not that there is any shortage of it in the musical, begins when Nick is told by the soothsayer to produce the first musical by the name of “Omelet”, which is hardly an appropriate name for a masterpiece with aspirations of being recognized around the globe. With a little bit of perseverance and ridicule along the way, the end result of Something Rotten! is just too good to miss. The impeccable props and set design makes it a worthwhile experience, and the acting is extremely well-done. Consider Something Rotten! as your next Broadway show.