By Chris Heide
Something Rotten has come to the 5th Avenue Theatre. Originally set to debut in 2015 before being ushered away to Broadway before its Seattle premiere, this bombastic and clever musical has finally had its hometown debut after a successful stint on Broadway that resulted in a whopping 10 Tony Award Nominations.
Something Rotten tells the story of Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers living in the nebulous shadow of Shakespeare. An A-list celebrity who commands scores of fangirls, Shakespeare is something of an icon who will do anything to maintain his notoriety and fame, including stealing the works of lesser known writers. Nick and Nigel desperately need to write a hit play, both to step outside of the aura of Shakespeare and to save themselves from financial ruin. Given the satirical and biting nature of the script, hilarity naturally ensues. The brothers attempt to build a musical, something never seen before at that time
This is a sharp, funny, relevant showcase. The script is full of pop culture references and witty political commentary. It’s a timely body of a work; a few Nazi jokes seemed almost a little too on-the-nose, given our current political climate in this country.
The best part of the show- and there were many good parts- were the numbers that referenced the vast history of musicals. In each of the acts of the show, there is a number that gives nod some of the greatest musicals in Broadway history. Dreamgirls, Rent, Chorus Line, Mary Poppins, Fiddler On The Roof, Chicago and many other award winning shows are referenced.
Ron McClure and Josh Grisetti are outstanding as Nick and Nigel Bottom, respectively. Something Rotten also boasts Adam Pascal, the original Roger in Rent, as the notorious Shakespeare. Interestingly enough, Pascal is the only actor who seems to take sometime on stage to settle into his character.
Undoubtedly, Something Rotten is of the best musicals I have ever seen. It is pretty much Book of Mormon for the Renaissance set and I couldn't be happier about that fact.