Front Row Reviewers

CenterPoint Legacy Theatre’s Something Rotten! is a Hilarious and Provocative Parody of Shakespeare and Musicals

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

By Keolanani Kinghorn

Something Rotten! is an uproariously whimsical musical that takes audiences on a time-traveling journey back to the Renaissance era, delivering a humorous yet inventive twist on the world of Shakespearean theatre. With its clever writing, catchy tunes, and vibrant performances, this musical is a delightful homage to both musical theatre and the Bard himself.

Set in the 1590s, the story follows the Bottom brothers, Nick (Addison Welch/J. R. Moore) and Nigel (Doug Wadley/Zach Watts), struggling playwrights who find themselves overshadowed by the rock star of the time, William Shakespeare (Jared Haddock/Isaac Carillo). Frustrated by their lack of success and desperate for a breakthrough, they seek out a soothsayer named Thomas Nostradamus (played by Mark Gurney/Scott W. Butler) who predicts the future of theatre, which, of all things is dance and music. The ensuing chaos as they attempt to create the world’s first musical sets the stage for a hilarious ride filled with mistaken identities, romantic entanglements, and uproarious mishaps.

The standout element of Something Rotten! is undoubtedly its witty and irreverent humor and director Danny Inkley managed to capture the essence of the humor while toning down the most (slight) offensive parts of this show. The script is peppered with clever references to Shakespearean works and numerous nods to iconic musicals, (The reference to Cats is  hysterical) providing ample entertainment for theatre aficionados. The rapid-fire wordplay, puns, and anachronistic humor keep the audience engaged and laughing throughout the show. The song lyrics are equally brilliant, seamlessly weaving the Renaissance era with modern pop culture in hilarious ways.

The music boasts a catchy and eclectic range of styles. From show-stopping numbers like “A Musical” that hilariously dissects musical theatre conventions to heartfelt ballads such as “I Love the Way,” the score successfully captures the essence of each character’s emotions and motivations. The cast’s vocal talents shine and their chemistry adds depth to the comedic situations. To give you a taste of the writing in this show, just before the song “A Musical” begins, soothsayer Thomas Nostradamus (say that out loud) (Gurney) explains the concept of a musical to Nick Bottom (Welch). Nick asks, “What the hell are musicals?” Thomas replies, “It appears to be a play where the play stops and the dialogue is conveyed through songs.” Nick clarifies, “Wait, so an actor is saying his lines, and then out of nowhere he just starts singing?” Thomas shouts, “Yes!” And then Nick sings, “Well that is the stupidest thing that I have ever heard.” I have seen the show a few times and it never fails to hit the audience just right; such clever writing. Gurney is a highlight of the show for me, it was nearly impossible not to watch him while he wi on stage. Everything he does has so much expression and nuance to it, and Welch’s voice has a unique quality that is pleasant and perfect for this role. Bailee Morris as Bea, Nick Bottom’s wife, is the perfect powerhouse singer and feminist, not to mention comedic relief. But honestly, the musicality of the whole ensemble is also exceptional, thanks to music director David K. Martin, who showcased the strengths of each cast member. Choreography by Heather Sessions-Gaillard and tap choreography by Danica Davies brings it all together with energetic dance. The added visual spectacle to the production makes this number truly exceptional.

Jared Haddock as the charismatic Shakespeare is both entertaining and larger-than-life, and Doug Wadley as the lovable innocent Nigel Bottom has mannerisms that are completely adorable whenever he is with Bre Welch (also played by Grace Liljenquist), who plays Portia. Those two together brought me some of my biggest laughs of the night because of their awkward flirting and love of poetry. The ensemble’s dance numbers are thrilling and jam-packed full of action. Of course, Costume Design by Tammis Boam, transports the audience to both the Renaissance era and the world of musical theatre. Elaborate period costumes and set pieces wowed me in each and every scene. The inventive staging, especially during “A Musical” sequence, showcases the creative team’s dedication to making the show visually engaging.

The set design by Truxton Moulton is outstanding. As are the props by Sharla Jordan.  I am so impressed by the amount of work that goes into every scene and the quality of workmanship. I was especially intrigued by how well the one-piece 2D theater backdrop works, where Nick frequently practices his plays. It is beautiful. Wig and Hair Designer Shelly Swenson makes everyone fit right into the Renaissance with beautiful hair pieces. And Makeup Designer Kristen Alley makes everyone look perfect in the spotlight. Gorgeous gradient lighting design by Jordan Fowler matches the mood of songs and scenes and Derek Walden brings the sound design to another dimension when Thomas Nostradamus has his visions with car horn noises and a kitchen timer ding that notifies the audience that the vision was ready.

Something Rotten! is a rollicking, tongue-in-cheek tribute to the world of theatre, Shakespeare, and the art of musical storytelling. With its uproarious humor, catchy songs, and spirited performances, it’s a must-see for anyone seeking a lighthearted and entertaining night at the theatre. So grab your doublet and hose, and get ready to laugh your way through a time-traveling musical adventure.

CenterPoint Legacy Theatre presents Something Rotten! music and lyrics by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick, book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell. August 4 – September 2, 2023 Monday – Saturday 7:30 PM, Saturday Matinees 2:30 PM. ASL Performance Saturday, August 12th, Matinee 2:30 PM Contact Info: 801–298-1302,
Tickets: General Admission $19-37
Photography by Micah Young.

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


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