REVIEW: Something Rotten at Hershey Theatre

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Something Rotten! welcomes you back to the Rennaissance at Hershey Theatre this weekend.

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Something Rotten! might be one of the funniest shows you will see. The hilarious musical pokes fun but also shows respect to classic Shakespearian plays and basically every other famous Broadway show.

It features an original story, a cast filled with former Broadway stars, and seriously funny jokes that aren’t always for the whole family.

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A Rotten Story

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The musical follows Nick and Nigel Bottom (Rob McClure and John Grisetti, respectively) on their journey to become famous playwrights in England. The two brothers keep falling on hard times and are often frustrated by the rock star that is Shakespeare.

Shakespeare is portrayed as a rock star in every sense of the word. He’s played by Adam Pascal — who played the original Roger Davis in Rent — and is always shown blinged-out in chrome collars and showing off leather pants.

After finding out that Shakespeare is already producing a play the brothers are working on, Nick Bottom decides to do something drastic. He takes all of the family savings to see a soothsayer, Thomas Nostradamus (Balke Hammond), to look into the future to tell him what the next big idea in theatre will be.

Nostradamus tells Bottom that musicals, a new concept where people break out into song for no reason at all, will soon dominate the stage.

Although Bottom has his concept, he still doesn’t have an idea for a show. He goes back to the soothsayer again so he can steal Shakespeare’s next big play. Nostradamus tells Bottom that “Omelette” (not Hamlet) will be the next Shakespearian hit.

While Nick Bottom is deadset on producing “Omelette: A Musical,” his brother Nigel has his reservations. This puts a rift between the two that leads the duo to a breaking point in the song, “To Thine Own Self.”

Of course, there is a love interest aspect to the story, too. Portia (Autumn Hurlbert) pushes Nigel to write with his feelings and drives Nigel to chase his dreams of being a playwright.

Hilarity, Parody, and Tap Dancing

The music in Something Rotten ranges from tight a capella to funky jams with a little bit of rock and roll whenever Shakespeare makes an appearance.

“Welcome to the Rennaisance” is the opening number and sets the stage perfectly for the rest of the show by paying homage to the time period, while also poking fun at it.

Some of the funniest moments in the show come in two of the biggest numbers. “A Musical” where Nostradamus explain what a musical is to Bottom, is full of puns and lyrics from famous musicals like Annie, Les Miserable, and A Chorus Line.

When Bottom finally debuts his breakfast musical the title song, “Omelette: A Musical,” features scenes and lines from Hamlet but with an “egg”-celent twist.

Something Rotten! is a show full of terribly bad puns, a little bit of raunchy humor, and a lot of high-spirited musical numbers. It’s definitely one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a while.

Something Rotten! runs Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 & 8 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Hershey Theatre.

James Werner
Author: James Werner

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