Wednesday January 24th 2018

“Something Rotten !”

Highly Recommended ***** Most people go to the theater to be entertained, and if they enjoy a great night  of frivolity and laughter, the perfect place for you to spend your entertainment dollars is at The Oriental Theatre and their hilarious production of “Something Rotten!”. This is an original work that had 10 Tony Award nominations. The book is written by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrel and music and lyrics written by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick. The stellar direction and choreography of this “tour de farce”  is by Casey Nicholaw.


This is a “national tour” and as they often do, some of the cast members were in the original production and others have been added to the troupe for their trek around the country. Let me tell you what the story is all about. “Something Rotten” is of course a line from one of Shakespeare’s great works , “Hamlet” ( or did someone else write that masterpiece?) and this play is about the great William Shakespeare (played to perfection by Adam Pascal, who many of you might recall from the original “Rent”) and his rival playwrights, the Bottom Brothers, Nigel (a sharp portrayal by Josh Grisetti) and Nick ( Rob Mclure will capture your heart and soul) who must write a new play to stay ahead of those they owe money to. After all, the shining star during the renaissance period was Shakespeare.

Fearing failure, Nick takes the family savings and goes to a soothsayer, Nostradamus (local actor Blake Hammond, who is a stitch), who advises him that he sees in the future a new type of stage presentation called ” A Musical”. This song and dance number is worth the price of the ticket on its own merits. It is a showstopper and had audience members on their feet asking for an encore. They were not disappointed. Nostradamus says to give the audience singing, dancing and acting at the same time and audiences will stand in lines around the corner to purchase tickets! So, the Bottom brothers setout to do just that. During the two hours and 30 minutes of pure entertainment, you will hear many one-liners from major musicals, bits and pieces from every major musical you have ever seen (or wanted to see) and find yourself forgetting about anything and everything that may have happened preceding you’re entering the theater. Let’s face it! You came to the theater to be entertained and by jove, “Something Rotten” does just that making your experience “something special”!

Touring companies do not have as lavish a set as the original but the design team has done a great job of transporting what was the original production to our Oriental Theatre. Scott Pask (scenic design), Gregg Barnes (dazzling costumes), Peter Hylenski (sound), Josh Marquette (hair)Jeff Croiter (lighting) and Phil Reno (musical direction/conductor). For a production this size to work, each piece of the puzzle must fit and this particular show relies on timing, not just on the part of the cast members, but also the tech people as well. It works !

The ensemble of players are asked to make many costume changes and play many roles, and each handles every one with pure love. The featured players, in addition to those named are all top-notch and appear to be having as much fun as the audience. Maggie Leaks as Bea , Nick’s wife is amazing. The lovely Autumn Hurlbert as Portia (Nigel’s love interest) is divine and her father, Brother Jeremiah is played for great comic relief by Scott Cote. Jeff Brooks is a powerful Shylock (the “producer” of the big “musical” written by the Bottom brothers. The rest of the ensemble is composed of: Lucy Anders, Kyle Nicholas Anderson, Kate Bailey, Daniel Beeman, Brandon Bieber, Mandie Black, Nick Rashad Burroughs (who began the show as our “minstrel/narrator”), Ian Campayno, Pierce Cassedy, Eric Coles, Drew Franklin, Juliane Godfrey, Leah Hoffman, Kristie Kerwin, Ralph Meitzler, Patrick John Moran, Joel Newsome, Con O’Shea-Creal, Kaylin Seckel and Tonya Thompson. Brilliant work by a powerful group.

The musical numbers are not ones that you will hum as you leave the theater but they are important to the movement of the show and the story. If you enjoy a hearty laugh, be prepared to have quite a few of them. There are lots of funny “bits” and even the little inside-Shakespeare jokes will get to you. There are many actual lines from the plays of the Bard and of course the lines from many Broadway hits from our lives. By the way, they Musical they have written is called “Omelette” the musical and it is “Danish”, so you might be ready for anything and know why it is “Something Rotten !” There many innuendos and side jokes that might offend, but they are in good taste and even the youngsters in the audience laughed.

“Something Rotten!” will be onstage at The Oriental Theatre located at 24 West Randolph Street as part of the Broadway In Chicago season thru July 23rd with performances as follows:

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  2 and 8 p.m.

Sundays  2 p.m. and 7 :30 p.m. ( on 7/23 no evening performance)

Tuesdays  7:30 p.m.

Wednesdays  2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets range in price from $27- $108 and can be purchased at any of the Broadway In Chicago Theatre box offices, by calling the Broadway In Chicago Ticketline at 1-800-775-2000 or online at

To see what others are saying, visit, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Something Rotten!”.


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