‘Something Rotten!’ at Darien High: Theater group creates outdoor experience

DARIEN — After the pandemic shuttered performances for the last year, live, in-person theater has made its return.

Darien High School’s Theatre 308 presented an outdoor production of the comedy musical “Something Rotten!” which opened Thursday. The performances are scheduled through Sunday, all at 7 p.m. at Darien High.

“To have the opportunity to actually do a show this year feels like something is right in the world,” said Kim Sadler, assistant director and choral director at Middlesex Middle School.

The company was scheduled to do “Godspell” last March — the group had planned and rehearsed for its performances — but it was canceled just a week before the first show because of the pandemic shutdown.

While things have not entirely returned to normal, the theater group saw an opportunity to present an outdoor show in the courtyard, accommodating some 250 guests.

“Obviously in a year like we’ve had we wanted to give our kids an opportunity to do a show,” Tim Sorensen, musical theater director and co-adviser to 308, said. “‘Something Rotten!’ kind of fit the bill. Shakespeare himself had to deal with a plague … so it seemed like a good idea.”

The show, which opened on Broadway in 2015, follows two brothers who hope to eclipse the popularity of a well-known contemporary named William Shakespeare with a play of their own.

“Getting back to the theater this spring has been really wonderful for all of us,” parent Robin Gilbert, whose daughter was going to perform in “Godspell” but never got the chance, said.

“It’s really very special to be here,” she said, noting that as a senior it was her “last hurrah” at the high school.

“I’m excited because it’s outside,” said Aidan Kennedy, 16, who played Lord Clapham. “It’s gonna be good.”

“It’s a unique experience,” added Mirabel Chin, 16, who performed as a townsperson.

“This is actually my first high school show,” according to Margaret Walter, 17, who is not only in eight different numbers, but has to make the same number of costume changes in between. “So this is a lot for me.”

Like the others, she was thrilled to be involved in this unique production.

“This is fantastic,” Rebecca Parnoff, vocal director, said. “It’s such new territory for all of us to do something outdoors ... and knowing the excitement it’s brought to the community, I think, is the greatest thing.”