Pick! ASR Theater ~~ “Something Rotten!”— 6th Street Ribs the Renaissance

By Cari Lynn Pace

If you are a dedicated fan of musicals and a good sport about Shakespeare, you will be cheering and laughing at Something Rotten! at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa.

Brothers Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick worked on and off for 15 years on their idea for a spoof of Shakespeare as an egomaniacal Renaissance rock star. John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick turned the idea into a book, and the musical premiered as a hit on Broadway in 2015.

Something Rotten! goes way over the top!…

6th Street brings this hilarious show to their stage with David Lear directing, Lucas Sherman conducting the orchestra, with fresh choreography by Joseph Favalora. It’s a winning team heading up a cast of 18 outrageously costumed singers and dancers.

(L to R) Garet Waterhouse, Lorenzo Alviso and Julianne Bretan in “Something Rotten!”.
Photo by Eric Chazankin.

The story setup is a pair of brothers, Nick (Nelson Brown) and Nigel (Lorenzo Alviso) Bottom, who write plays but cannot compete with the magic of the Bard’s popularity. The financial pressure is on to find an idea for a hit play, so Nick consults a daffy oracle Nostradamus (Ted Smith) for leads. Big mistake.

Nostradamus foretells that in the future, actors will sing their lines, making something called a “mu-si-cal.” He further predicts that Shakespeare’s greatest play will be Omelet. Skeptical but desperate, Nick creates song after song for a new show. Act I’s showstopper “A Musical” shows off the dancing and singing energy of the huge cast, followed by another hilarious tune dedicated to the Black Plague.

Something Rotten! goes way over the top when Will Shakespeare himself (Garet Waterhouse) appears onstage, clad in skin-tight breeches and an oversize codpiece encrusted with pearls. Screaming peasant women toss their cloths at the Bard as he writhes and sings “Will Power” backed by four gyrating hunks. Does it get any funnier?

Several side stories in Something Rotten! give the laughing audience a brief chance to recover their breath. Nick’s wife (Megan Bartlett), aware the only men are allowed to do manual jobs, assumes disguises to earn money for their poor playwright household. It’s a nod to women’s lib in the 90s—the 1590s, that is.

The Poet, Nigel Bottom, and Portia, a Puritan.
Played by Lorenzo Alviso and Julianne Bretan. Photo by Eric Chazankin.

Out in the courtyard, Nigel and a puritan pilgrim Portia (Julianne Bretan) are smitten with one another, under the nose of her stern father (John Griffin.) Someone gets “banish-ed.”

This comedic respite doesn’t last long, however. As Act II begins, the Minstrel (Jonathen Blue) welcomes us back to the Renaissance and more mayhem. A tremendous showstopper in Act II is “Make an Omelet,” with magical costume changes as the cast dances away. Kudos to Costume Designer Mae Heagerty-Matos for the splendid visual treats.

The cleverness of the show’s double-entendres is another treat. One must listen closely to catch dozens of references to Broadway musicals, including many sight gags. Something Rotten! is the type of show you’ll want to see twice.


ASR Writer & Editor Cari Lynn Pace is a voting member of SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and writes theatre and lifestyle reviews for the Marinscope Community Newspapers throughout Marin County. Contact: pace-koch@comcast.net


ProductionSomething Rotten!
Book byJohn O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick
Music/Lyrics byKarey and Wayne Kirkpatrick
Directed byDavid Lear
Producing Company6th Street Playhouse, Studio Theatre
Production DatesThru June 25th
Production Address6th Street Playhouse
52 W. 6th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Telephone (707) 523-4185
Tickets$35 to $43
Reviewer ScoreMax in each category is 5/5
Aisle Seat Review PICK?YES!