By Rita J. Egan
It was Theatre Three’s opening night of Something Rotten! on Saturday, May 20, and the audience was treated to an entertaining and energetic night full of laughter.
With book by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick and music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten! takes audience members back in time to the late 16th century where William Shakespeare is so adored that he’s treated like a modern-day rock star. Struggling writers Nick and Nigel Bottom, who head up a theater troupe, dream of the same success but can’t seem to create a play that will capture people’s attention until Nick consults with a soothsayer named Nostradamus.
The soothsayer looks into the future and finds that something called a musical will be popular one day. A later encounter finds Nick asking Nostradamus what Shakespeare’s future successes will be so that the Bottom brothers can use the ideas in the present. The result is Nick creating Omelette: The Musical despite his brother’s objections.
The Broadway musical opened on the Great White Way in 2015 and ran until early 2017. The production was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and Christian Borle won the Best Featured Actor in a Musical award for his portrayal of William Shakespeare.
Theatre Three’s Something Rotten! proves that there are no small parts as well as the importance of talented actors in each role, including the ensemble. Throughout the musical, it was apparent that everyone involved was giving it their all, creating a night of sensational entertainment. Director Jeffrey Sanzel has chosen a talented cast and masterfully directs the more than two dozen actors.
The production is filled with a few upbeat tunes, but the showstopping number is “A Musical.” Featured in Act I, the whole cast appears on stage singing and dancing. The number cleverly pokes fun at musicals and includes nods to Les Miserables, Annie, A Chorus Line and more. At the end of the song, the applause on opening night seemed to go on for more than a minute, and rightfully so, as each and every person involved in Something Rotten! deserved the accolades.
Heading up the cast is Ryan Nolin, a convincing Nick Bottom at the end of his rope trying to provide for his family and create a hit. He and Dennis Setteducati, who plays Nostradamus, sound fantastic on their leads during “A Musical” and play up the clever lines to the hilt.
Andrew Boza, as the naive Nigel Bottom, captures the sweetness of the young poet and writer. He and Danielle Pafundi, delightful as Portia, are the perfect match to play star-crossed lovers, especially during the song “I Love the Way.”
Christine Boehm as Nick’s wife, Bea, is a treat to watch as the character has her mind set on proving, even with mishaps, that a woman is more than capable of doing whatever a man does. Her rendition of “Right Hand Man” is also a highlight of the show.
Evan Teich, as Shakespeare, captures the cockiness of the celebrated star while still delivering the right amount of silliness. Jim Sluder as Brother Jeremiah and Angelo DiBiase as Shylock seamlessly add to the jokes and hijinks.
Choreographers Sari Feldman and Josie McSwane have created high-energy dances. The cast members look like they are having so much fun that audience members may want to join them onstage. The use of tap dancing and a kickline in “A Musical,” as well as a few other numbers, is absolutely delightful.
Theatre Three’s orchestra led by Jeffrey Hoffman sounded fantastic as always, and the costumes by Chakira Doherty perfectly captured the time period.
During the song “A Musical,” the line “What could be more amazing than a musical with song and dance and sweet romance,” is sung. The cast and crew of Theatre Three’s Something Rotten! understand this and embrace every aspect of this genre. Audience members on opening night enjoyed a fun evening out on the town, and the standing ovation at the end of the production was well deserved.
Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Something Rotten! through June 24. Tickets are $35, $28 seniors and students, $20 children ages 5 to 12. For tickets or more information, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.