Review | ‘Something Rotten!’ — uproarious comedy nods to ‘The Book of Mormon’
The national tour of the musical "Something Rotten!" Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
By Lily Wobbe
duPont Manual High School, 2022
“If you want to be great, then you’ve got to create a musical!”
In the musical “Something Rotten!”, this advice comes from fortune teller Nostradamus. The musical’s composers Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick certainly took their own advice to heart when writing this hit Broadway musical.
“Something Rotten!” opened Tuesday at The Kentucky Center. A praiseworthy musical experience, it’s appealing to audiences interested in musical theater and Shakespeare and to those looking for just a good laugh. It opened on Broadway in 2015, and it’s no surprise that it’s still popular today — its riveting dance numbers and uproarious comedy are perfect for mature audiences.
“Something Rotten!” may appear old-fashioned with its period-appropriate Renaissance set and costumes, but from the very first number, “Welcome to the Renaissance,” it’s clear that the audience is in for a thrill.
The show opens on Nick and Nigel Bottom (Matthew Michael Janisse and Richard Spitaletta), and their attempt to write a play great enough to challenge Shakespeare. They quickly discover this will be a difficult feat, with Nick eventually turning to a fortune-teller Nostradamus (Greg Kalafatus) for inspiration. By the end, the full cast is doing kick lines dressed as omelets. With perfectly timed humor, nonstop action and true love, the show had the audience’s attention from curtain to curtain.
To any frequent theatergoer, a clear stand-out is the show’s references to other Broadway musicals. Among the shows directly referenced are “Phantom of the Opera,” “Sound of Music,” “Rent” and many others. The show keeps audiences guessing which of their favorite Broadway shows will be referenced next. Also, despite it being set in the Renaissance, John O’Farrell’s and Karey Kirkpatrick’s joke-filled, Tony-nominated script had the audience laughing wildly.
Tony award-winning choreographer Casey Nicholaw — who directs “Something Rotten!” — has a “Book of Mormon” moment in act two. It features sparkle-vested, singing and dancing Puritans. In any other show, tap-dancing eggs would seem peculiar, but Mr. Nicholaw’s eccentric quirks are seamlessly woven into the show.
The show goes out with a bang by reprising the iconic opening number, but this time with the lyric “Welcome to America,” leaving the audience in high spirits.