Images via Rotten Broadway.
Images via Rotten Broadway

How often are there standing ovations in the middle of a Broadway musical? Something Rotten is a show that celebrates theatre along with taking a few jabs at William Shakespeare and the genre of musical theatre itself. Its humor is irreverent, along the lines of Spamalot and Book of Mormon. The audience is at the edge of their seats to make sure that they catch as many jokes as possible in this hilarious show. Something Rotten will be around to entertain and tease the theatre for a very long time.

Two playwright brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, are desperately trying to write the next great British play, but that damn William Shakespeare continuously keeps earning every accolade of the time. Nick is desperate to best the Bard and write the next huge success. He is so desperate that he consults famed seer Nostradamus. Well, he consults the nephew of Nostradamus, whose predictions are just a little bit off the mark. Brad Oscar as Nostradamus — and nominated for a Best Featured Actor Tony — leads the “A Musical” number, which predicts that the next big thing in the theatre is a show with music. “A Musical” is so phenomenal with references to many popular shows, such as Rent, Cats, Les Miserables, On The Town, etc. The references are so fast and furious that you do not have time to recover from one before they begin on another show. This number brings down the house every night.

something rottenAfter more soothsaying advice, Nick Bottom writes a musical called Omelette, which Nostradamus predicted was Shakespeare’s next play instead of Hamlet. Meanwhile, Shakespeare is having a challenging time coming up with his next great idea, so he decides to spy a bit on the Bottoms to see what they are writing. There are many jokes about Shakespeare being a plagiarist.

Christian Borle (Best Featured Actor Tony winner) is hilarious and over the top as Shakespeare, performing songs like “Will Power” and “Hard to Be the Bard.” One of the best moments of the show is when Shakespeare (Borle) and Nick Bottom (Brian d’Arcy James) have a tap-off during “Bottom’s Gonna Be on Top.” Both James and Borle are phenomenal tap dancers, and they best each other every night trying to establish just who is on top.

Brian d’Arcy James (nominated for Best Actor Tony) is so charismatic that he makes the audience feel for his character. He just cannot compete with Shakespeare, and he is desperate to provide for his family. There are many, many jokes about his character’s name, Nick Bottom. Brian d’Arcy James leads an outstanding cast with unflagging enthusiasm and energy. Check out the Something Rotten clip shown at the 2015 Tony Awards below!

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