A friend from high school and I had been planning to see a Broadway show together even before we graduated, and only the other day did we finally make good on those plans and saw Something Rotten!
I have heard nothing but good things about Something Rotten! but still went in without much of a clue on what it's about except for the fact that it's funny. What an understatement. This was such a fun show, parodying musicals and Broadway itself, as well as Shakespeare. It takes place during Shakespeare's time. We watch as two struggling playwrights who are trying to make money while having to compete against Shakespeare. The older brother, disheartened and desperate, turns to an unlikely source and finds out that the next big thing is going to be musicals. He also finds out that Shakespeare's most famous play is going to be called "Omelette."
Hilarity ensues as they try to write a musical about breakfast and eggs. Any Broadway fan will get a kick out of the show and the songs featured. There are so many references to different shows, some obvious and others more subtle. Those who don't understand the references likely won't appreciate Something Rotten! as much, and they'll definitely know they're missing something as the rest of the crowd laughs. But even if you're like me and only got maybe 75% of the references, you can tell they're making fun of Broadway while on Broadway.
The actors do an amazing job, from Christian Borle as Shakespeare to Brian d'Arcy James as Nick Bottom to Heidi Blickenstaff as Bea, there is so much mixed talent on the show. The songs are upbeat and fun. The show is so great for when you need a break or just want a laugh.
But even beyond the hilarity is a level of depth in the story arc. It's not just about Broadway but also about talent, being true to yourself, freedom, happiness, family, and loyalty. It's about learning who to trust and who not to trust--including trusting in yourself. It's about taking a stand and being your own person. There are two fierce and amazing females who show that they are brave and smart and clever in their own right.
The end was kind of shaky in my opinion, and I'm not sure how I feel about it, but overall, I think the show wrapped up nicely. It shows how success and happiness don't necessarily have to come from fame and how fame isn't always all that it lives up to. It's about starting over but without changing who you are.
This is such a beautiful and hilarious story that anyone, but especially Broadway fans, will enjoy. There's a dash of history, a lot of wit, some literature and writing, and so many laughs. I highly, highly recommend this show and would see it again if I could afford to.