When was the last time you saw an audience spring to its feet in the middle of the First Act and deliver a rousing ovation? That’s just what happened on Opening Night during CTGLA’s production of the Elizabethan era spoof, “Something Rotten!” It comes as no surprise considering this is quite possibly the funniest, wittiest, most entertaining musical you’ll see. With a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, music and lyrics by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick, and directed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon), “Something Rotten!” is everything that one hopes for in a rollicking, not-a-dull-moment theatrical production.
It’s 16th Century Renaissance and Shakespeare (Adam Pascal) is the rock star of the theatre world while the Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel (Rob McCure and Josh Grisetti) are close to being financially and artistically bankrupt. Increasingly bitter and desperate, Nick secretly employs Nostradamus (the show-stealing Blake Hammond) to peer into the future and reveal the hit shows of tomorrow so he can beat Shakespeare to the punch. The resulting musical (the first ever) is not only a hotchpotch spoof of the greatest musicals of all time, but also a brilliant, uproarious homage to musical theatre; Hamlet, due to an inability to properly sort the divined details, becomes Omelette, and the stage clusters with a hysterical parade of memorable characters from the Fidler on the Roof, The Phantom of the Opera, Dreamgirls and more.
Set designer Scott Park washes the stage in stunning, saturated colors and the costume design by Gregg Barnes is also exceptional and painstakingly crafted. The music is irrepressibly catchy and the choreography by Nicholaw is elaborate, precise and infectiously boisterous. The cast, yielding multiple favorites, is an exemplar of collaborative theatre magic. “Something Rotten” has never felt this good.
— Ghaib Dhalla.
“Something Rotten” is playing at the Ahmanson Theatre through 12/31. Get tickets here.