By Mary Boyle
Nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2015, Something Rotten! is a Broadway musical that pokes fun at Broadway musicals, while turning the world's greatest writer into an egotistical rock star; in a nutshell, it's hysterical. After a nearly two-year run on Broadway and now onto its second US Tour, Something Rotten! kicks off the 2018/19 Broadway at the Marcus series from October 16-21 at the Marcus Center's Uihlein Hall.
In South London in 1595, everyone is in love with William Shakespeare (Matthew Baker) — everyone, that is, except Nick Bottom (Matthew Michael Janisse), a struggling playwright who can't possibly compete with THE Bard. With his wife, Bea (Emily Kristen Morris), to support, and a kid on the way, Nick and his brother, Nigel (Richard Spitaletta), are desperate for an idea for a great play, and Nick knows just where to get it: since Shakespeare is so great, he will ask a soothsayer to predict what his greatest play will be about, and Nick will write it, first! The soothsayer, Nostradamus (Greg Kalafatas), predicts that musicals are the future of theatre but, unfortunately, his prediction of Shakespeare's most famous play gets mixed up with a bunch of Broadway musicals. In the meantime, Nigel has fallen head-over-heels for Portia (Jennifer Elizabeth Smith), whose Puritan father, Brother Jeremiah (Mark Saunders), would like nothing more than to shut all of the theaters down.
Conceived by American screenwriter and director Karey Kirkpatrick, who wrote the screenplay for Chicken Run and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, among others, and his songwriting brother, Wayne, the brothers wrote the music and lyrics, while Karey wrote the book with the help of English author and comedic scriptwriter, John O'Farrell. While you'll get more jokes if you're familiar with Shakespeare, it's even more helpful to be familiar with musicals, as this production gives a nod to just about every one your average person can think of off of the top of their heads. In fact, the entire production is reminiscent of Neil Patrick Harris's 2013 Tony Opening, and every bit as fun to watch; this is Broadway brought to the Brew City.
Something Rotten! runs through October 21st at the Marcus Center for Performing Arts Uihlein Hall, located at 929 N. Water St. in Milwaukee. Tickets may be purchased by calling 414.273.7206, or online at: https://www.marcuscenter.org/show/something-rotten!/
The 2018/19 Broadway at the Marcus series has an exciting lineup! Join them for How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Book of Mormon, Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom of the Opera, The King and I, Come From Away, and Anastasia.