The Warner Theatre’s production of ‘Something Rotten!’ is something good
Warner Theatre, Torrington: There’s so much good in “Something Rotten!” at the Warner that the title is almost a misnomer. On the other hand, considering that the title is from a quote in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” it is most appropriate. The show is smart, though not innovative. It is clever and funny but not laugh-out-loud hysterical. However, it is without a doubt entertaining. Written by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell with music and lyrics by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick, there are plenty of double entendres and enough allusions to great American musicals to satisfy the most ardent fans of musical theater.
Directed by Joe Guttadauro who keeps the pace moving and with Dan Ringuette as music director and Sharon W. Houk as choreographer, expect to be transported to the Renaissance era. Set during Shakespeare’s time, the Bottom brothers, two struggling playwrights, are not happy that they have to compete with the Bard, who everyone loves and adores. Nick the older brother seeks help from a relative of Nostradamus — Thomas. Nick wants to steal Shakespeare’s idea for his next play. Thomas Nostradamus gets things mixed up as he foretells the future. He tells Nick, that Shakespeare’s next play is going to be his masterpiece and is about something that sounds like an omelet. He adds that there’s something about ham in the play as well as something Danish. Therefore, Nick determines it must be a breakfast play. The soothsayer also says that Nick should consider making a musical, which leads to a string of historical references to the beginning of musicals. While this is fun throughout Act I, by the second Act it does get a bit tedious with one musical after another is continually alluded to.
Michael Ruby as the Minstrel starts the show off with a vivacious welcoming number, though there seemed to be something wrong with the piper’s pipe. John Ozerhoski makes a strong prim and not always so proper Puritan Brother Jeremiah while Erica Blasko as Portia has a voice you just want to keep listening to. All of the principal players did a fine job including Travis Karas as Shakespeeare who consistently delivers strong vocals as well as Frank Beaudry as Nick Bottom and Zachary Taylor as Nigel Bottom. Eric Lindblom did a solid rendering of a confused Thomas Nostradamus.
Others in the cast include: Rick Fountain, Patrick Hearn, Alyssa Bianca, Tyler Bard, Marc Costanzo, Jason Maur, Scott Iwanicki, John Mullen, Jr., and Eric Wilczak. Tap dancers include: Thaddeus Asheim, Caitlin Beaudry, Emily Flynn, Rick Fountain, Jenna Iacono, Jean-Marie McGrath, Emily Minor, Lyn Nagel, Charlie Pelletier, Roxie Quinn, Eric Wilczak Kristi Yurko, and Dylan Zawisza.
In addition to the cast and tap dancers is a large ensemble which performs well though talents range from fair to polished. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Renee C. Purdy’s and Thomas Gordon’s costume designs were quite exceptional, especially the dancers dressed as eggs. Joe Guttadauro and Stephen C. Houk’s set design worked well especially since the facades of the houses were easily moved on and off stage. Overall, this is a fine production and plays through Nov. 10. Box office: 860-489-7180.
Joanne Greco Rochman is an active member in the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.