The Venn diagram that displays the relationship between lovers of the works of William Shakespeare and musical theater probably shows very little overlap. Nevertheless, if one is in either category—and especially for those who are in that overlap—they should head to Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse and catch one of their remaining performances of Something Rotten! The rollicking Railroad Square production runs through June 25.
The Bottom brothers, Nick (Nelson Brown) and Nigel (Lorenzo Alviso), have been toiling in the theater world under the shadow of Renaissance rock star playwright William Shakespeare (Garet Waterhouse). Bill always seems to be one step ahead of them, and the fact that Nigel is an adoring fan doesn’t help matters.
Nick comes upon the idea to seek a soothsayer to predict what the next big thing in theater will be. Enter Nostradamus (Ted Smith)—Thomas Nostradamus that is—nephew of the famous prognosticator, who looks into the future of theater and sees… musicals! Desperate for success, Nick asks Nostradamus to predict what Shakespeare’s next hit will be, and the befuddled diviner comes up with Omelette. Nick’s vehicle for the fulfillment of his dreams of prosperity and renown will be a combination of the two: Omelette: The Musical!
The key to the success of this exceedingly enjoyable show is the affection the show’s original creators (John O’Farrell and Karey & Wayne Kirkpatrick) have for the source material. It honors the work of Shakespeare and Broadway musicals while good-naturedly sending them both up. Every musical theater trope is in play, from a flashy opening number (“Welcome to the Renaissance”) boisterously delivered by the Minstrel (Jonathen Blue) and ensemble, through a hilarious paean to “The Black Death,” to the musical moral of the show (“To Thine Own Self”).
Director David Lear (not the first person who comes to mind when one thinks of Broadway-style musical comedy) has assembled a terrific cast of performers and craftspeople to deliver the most entertaining show to grace the GK Hardt stage in some time. The choreography by Joseph Favalora is zippy (including a lot of tap), costumes by Mae Hagerty-Matos are colorful, and the vocals are top-notch. The unseen orchestra led by Lucas Sherman does a fine job delivering the score.
The key to the success of this particular production is the affection the cast has for the material and the joy they exhibit in delivering it. It’s infectious.
Something Rotten! really isn’t. It’s a lot of fun.
‘Something Rotten!’ runs through June 25 in the GK Hardt Theatre at 6th Street Playhouse, 52 W. 6th Street, Santa Rosa. Fri-Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm. $28–$48. 707.523.4185. 6thstreeetplayhouse.com.