Something Rotten Comes Up Smelling Like a Rose

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

If you love musicals, which I do, you gotta love Something Rotten, appearing through the weekend at the Altria Theater. If you hate musicals, there’s a chance you just might love Something Rotten, as well. You’ll probably also love it if you hate Shakespeare. In fact, the only theatergoers who might not love Something Rotten are those who have something against outrageous over acting or chronic exuberance.

I’d forgotten what a belly laugh is. I used to get a few out of Saturday Night Live. That is still on TV, isn’t it? But the satire, which runs rampant throughout the show had me LOLing on several occasions. My only complaint, and I honestly don’t know if it’s me and my aging ears or the theater, is that over the last two performances that I’ve attended at the Altria, the sound has been somewhat muffled. I have a feeling I missed a lot and the fact that many in the audience were guffawing while I was trying to figure out what the actors were saying, has me thinking it just might be me. I probably (thankfully) missed a few double entendres.

But I enjoyed what I heard. While, I’m guessing that the book penned by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell is not based on fact, it may leave you wondering just who did come up with the idea of turning a theatrical production into a musical.

Greg Kalafatas, as Thomas Nostradamus, is hilarious (except for the few of you who have an aversion to the aforementioned overacting), as he foresaw the advent of musical comedy in a rousing number that gave a nod in song and dance to about 20 of Broadway’s biggest hits. Don’t worry, if there wasn’t an allusion to your favorite musical, just wait until “Make An Omelette” in act two.

As soon as Nick Bottoms, the down-on-his-luck 16th-century playwright, who loathes the plagiarizing Will Shakespeare, tells Nostradamus that the idea of a musical seems “miserable,” you can see that many of the sacred cows of musical theater are going to be herded across stage before the night is over. They are and I enjoyed it immensely.

Something Rotten! National Tour. Matthew Janisse, Greg Kalafatas. Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

The only change I would have suggested is to have made that number, “A Musical,” close the first act. However, as they say, “Those who can’t do or teach, become critics.”

While the entire cast is quite talented, perhaps the most outstanding voice in the show was that of Emily Kristen Morris as Bea, the liberated 90s (1590s) wife of Nick. Morris belts out “Right Hand Man,” in a rousing first-act scene.

Something Rotten! National Tour, Matthew Janisse, Emily Kristen Morris
.Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel.

Based on an online promotion, which stated that Something Rotten is appropriate for ages eight to adult, I took my seven-year old grandson. That was my one mistake. After the play, he announced as we walked back to the car, “I’m kinda the guy who doesn’t like musicals.”

However, if you’re over seven and if you only see one musical in your life, you might want to make it Something Rotten because, at least for a few seconds or two, you’ll see virtually every musical to ever wend its way across the stage and into your hearts.

Something Rotten appears through Sunday (May 19) at the Altria. See website for times and tickets.



Steve Cook
Author: Steve Cook