In Elizabethan England, it’s hard to get noticed in theater when all anyone can talk about is “The Bard,” and Nick and Nigel Bottom, two no-name theater practitioners, feel lost in the shuffle. The Bard, of course, is powerhouse talent William Shakespeare, and in SBCC’s upcoming rendition of Broadway hit Something Rotten, director Katie Laris calls him a “rock-star, Mick Jagger–like figure.” Meanwhile, the Bottoms hear it on good authority (a local soothsayer) that the next big movement in theater is called a “musical,” where performers dance and sing in addition to acting. Reaching for renown, the Bottom brothers launch themselves into creating the very first musical.
Theater about making theater is interesting because it gives audiences a peek at the “backstage” process. Something Rotten has fun, referential humor that theatergoers will love, but it’s also a story full of heart that will charm even those who are green in the seats. “It appeals to people with a working knowledge of Hamlet and a working knowledge of the American musical,” says Laris, “but even if you’ve never heard of Hamlet or never been to a musical, there’s still plenty for you to enjoy.” Christina McCarthy choreographs — so expect large production numbers that require all the pizazz of Broadway — and David Potter directs music. Laris says the music has “a campy, anachronistic vibe” and moves from an Elizabethan-inspired sound to contemporary rock.
Something Rotten was nominated for 10 Tony Awards. It’s a robust comedic musical that reminds audiences of those fateful words from Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.” Something Rotten runs July 6-23 at the Garvin Theatre at SBCC. See theatregroupsbcc.com.