What an utter hoot! Theatre Under the Star’s Something Rotten is an ode to everything wonderful, hilarious, and ridiculous found in musical theatre.
Something Rotten is set in Elizabethan England and William Shakespeare possesses superstar status. He is THE Bard whereas all other playwrights are merely bards. The hero of Something Rotten, Nick Bottom, is tired of living in the shadow of Shakespeare. His opening song of “Why I Hate Shakespeare” pokes fun at the fact no one really understands what Shakespeare writes and that seeing one of his plays is actually torturous because all that happens is your butt hurts after sitting so long. Nick Bottom, along with his brother Nigel, wants to come up with a way to break free from Will Shakespeare’s enormous shadow. Enter the hilarious soothsayer (the actress is very Melissa-McCarthy-esque). The soothsayer, Thomas Nostradamus, introduces the concept of a musical. The inevitable discussion of why any audience would tolerate dialogue transitioning into song hilariously devolves into singing.
The writers and composers of Something Rotten created something magical. Endless musical riffs from famous musicals are woven throughout the score. Countless quotes from Shakespeare’s plays are integrated into the script. This musical begs to be seen over and over again as you will inevitably discover more delightful nods to musical and literary creations every time you see the show.
A word of caution: this show may not be suitable for those under 12 years of age. The language is a bit edgier and there are a number of overt sexual references. At the intermission, I asked my 11-year-old if he was doing okay. He said, “don’t worry, mom, it’s all going over my head”. Um, clearly not. Nonetheless, the show was enjoyed by all four of us. The kids have been listening to the songs from the musical ever since.
Something Rotten may not be a well-known musical but it should be. The TUTS’ performers are exceptional! You really want to add Theatre Under the Stars to your 2022 Summer Bucket List of activities. The performances end on August 26. Something Rotten plays on even days in August; We Will Rock You plays on odd days throughout August.