In 2023, everyone loves a musical. In 16th century London, not so much.
“Something Rotten!” takes us to Renaissance England where Will Shakespeare reigns supreme as the rock star of Elizabethan theatre—to the chagrin of his fellow playwright Nick Bottom. As Shakespeare’s star continues to rise, Nick is becoming increasingly desperate for a little success of his own. His bills are due, his patron is dissatisfied, and his wife is salvaging the rotten vegetables thrown at criminals. To best his rival and provide financial security for his struggling family, Nick consults a soothsayer. He wants to know what the next big trend in theater and the plot of Shakespeare’s future hit will be. The result is the riotous “Omelette: The Musical” and the opportunity to poke a little fun at almost every Broadway mega-hit.
… a spectacularly entertaining production…This cast has chemistry and charisma…a must-see.
As the corroboration of British author John O’Farrell, American screenwriter Karey Kirkpatrick, and songwriter and musician Wayne Kirkpatrick, “Something Rotten!” has been wowing audiences worldwide since its 2015 Broadway debut. And now, 2nd Star Productions has made this stage phenomena their own.
Under the direction of Alanna Kiewe, Nathan Bowen leads the ensemble cast as the well-meaning Nick Bottom. Kyle Eshom stars as Nick’s sensitive brother and writing partner, Nigel. Neva Keuroglian Sullivan shines as Nate’s devoted, feminist wife Bea. Natolya Barber plays Nick’s rival William Shakespeare with flair. Ryan Power is the zany psychic Thomas Nostradamus. Aaron Vonderharr is Nick’s intimidating puritan nemesis Brother Jeremiah and Marela Kay Minosa is Jeremiah’s romance-minded daughter, Portia.
Shylock the Jew is played by Ellery Rhodes. Emily L. Sergo is Lady Clapham, Nick’s unhappy patron. Ajaika McLemore is the Minstrel who introduces the audience to the era and moves the plot along with musical narration. Bryan Hargraves as Tom Snout, Davis Wootton-Klebanoff as Robin, Alex Campbell as Peter Quince, Kieth Flores as Snug, and Brian Binney as Francis Flute round out the talented cast.
The large cast shares the stage with eighteen other singers and dancers creating a spectacularly entertaining production. No one actor delivers a stand-out performance because all are excellent in their roles. Vocals are strong and every scene is filled with relatable emotion and perfect comedic timing. This cast has chemistry and charisma!
In addition to the flawless acting and singing, 2nd Star Productions boasts an outstanding creative team. Costume Designer Linda Swann, with the assistance of Lynn Kellner, Judy Lebet, and Linda Ridge, has created true pageantry by dressing the cast in attire that ranges from elegant to absurd. The ten-piece orchestra conducted by Joseph Simon bring the score to life. The choreography, set design, the lighting all contribute to this outstanding production and make it a must-see.
Running time: Two hours and 30 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.
Advisory: Adult themes, some sexual innuendo.
“Something Rotten!” runs through June 24, 2023, Fridays through Sundays at the Bowie Playhouse, 16500 White Marsh Park Drive, Bowie, MD 20715. For more information and tickets, go to online. Audiences members must remain masked while in the Playhouse. Vaccination is strongly recommended.