Wednesday, January 31, 2018

CT Theater Review: Something Rotten! -- The Bushnell

Adam Pascal and the cast of the Something Rotten! National Tour. Photo: Jeremy Daniel
Something Rotten!
Music and Lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farre
Directed and Choreographed by Casey Nicholaw
The Bushnell
Through Feb. 4

By Lauren Yarger
Something Rotten! is really something quite wonderful -- especially if you are a fan of musical theater.
The musical, which was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, brings the Renaissance to Hartford with a run at the Bushnell through Feb. 4. It's 1590 England and William Shakespeare (Adam Pascal) is a rock star. Everything he does is a success since starting his own theater after Nick Bottom (Rob McClure) kicked him out of the theater troupe he runs with his brother Nigel (Josh Grisetti), from whom Shakespeare likes to steal ideas. 

When Nick's wife, Bea (Maggie Lakis), decides she needs to go to work to help support the family -- even though it's the "'90s," equal opportunities aren't available for women workers --  Nick feels he must take some desperate action to make sure he and Nigel will have the next hit show and be a financial success. He takes on a money-lending Jew named Shylock (Jeff Brooks) as a producer, even though it's against the law, and seeks out soothsayer Nostradamus (a very funny Blake Hammond) to give him the scoop on what the greatest theater production will be so he can have Nigel write it first.

Startlingly, Nostradamus predicts that theater in the future will take on a strange new form called a musical, where actors suddenly stop in the middle of speaking to sing and dance. While he gets that part right, some of the details about the show get jumbled and what the troupe ends up presenting, "Omelette the Musical," is truly one of the most rotten -- and funny -- musicals you'll ever see. Pieces of just about every musical you ever have seen on stage are scrambled into the plot. Silly costumes by Gregg Barnes and choreography by Casey Nicholaw, who also directs, add to the hilarity. 

Pleasing music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, with a humorous book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farre, make this a very entertaining show. This tour is especially strong, with polished performances from Pascal, McClure and Grisetti, who all performed in the Broadway production. Grisetti is charming as the geeky poet and is excellently paired as a star-crossed lover with Portia (an effervescent Autumn Hurlbert), whose puritan father, Brother Jeremiah (Scott Cote), opposes the match.

Something Rotten! shakes up your thoughts of iambic pentameter at the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, through Feb. 4. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm.; Friday at 8 pm.; Saturday at 2 and 8 pm; Sunday at 1 and 6:30 pm. Ticket prices start at $22.50:; 860-987-5900.

Additional casting:
Lucy Anders, Kyle Nicholas Anderson, Kate Bailey, Daniel Beeman, Brandon Bieber, Mandie Black, Nick Rashad Burroughs, Ian Campayno, Drew Franklin, Luke Hamilton, Cameron Hobbs, Patrick John Moran, Joel Newsome, Con O’Shea-Creal, David Rossetti, Kaylin Seckel, Sarah Quinn Taylor, Tonya Thompson and Emily Trumble. 

Additional credits: 
Scott Pask (scenic design), Jeff Croiter (lighting design), Peter Hylenski (sound design), Josh Marquette (hair design), Phil Reno (music direction / conductor), Glen Kelly (arrangements), Larry Hochman (orchestrations), Steve Bebout (associate director)
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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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