Something Rotten! (2022)

Music and Lyrics by Karey Kirkpatrick & Wayne Kirkpatrick
Book by Karey Kirkpatrick & John O'Farrell
Conceived by Karey Kirkpatrick & Wayne Kirkpatrick

Sept. 22 -Oct. 13, 2022
Marcelle Theater
Show Webpage
Production Photos

Nick Bottom – Chris Kernan
Nigel Bottom – Marshall Jennings
Bea Bottom – Carrie Wenos
Portia – Melissa Felps
Nostradamus – Jeffrey Izquierdo-Malon
Will Shakespeare – Clayton Humburg
Brother Jeremiah – Jason Blackburn
Shylock/Lord Clapham – Robert Doyle
Minstrel/Peter Quince – Chris Moore
Francis Flute – Mara Bollini
Robin Starveling – Kent Coffel
John Snug – Brittany Kohl Hester
Tom Snout – Ian McCreary
Helena/Psychic – Maggie Nold
Miranda/Astrologer – Alyssa Wolf

Conductor/Keyboard – Mallory Golden
Trumpet – Joe Akers
Guitar – Jack Catalanotto, Adam Rugo
Bass – John Gerdes
Reeds – Joe Hendricks
Percussion – Des Jones

Director – Scott Miller
Music Director – Mallory Golden
Choreographer – Alyssa Wolf
Technical Director – Matt Stuckel
Sound Designer – Ryan Day
Scenic Designer – Rob Lippert
Costume Designer – Sarah Porter
Lighting Designer – Matt Stuckel
Props Master – Todd Schaefer
Scenic Crew – Richard Brown, Nick Brunstein, Patrick Donnigan, Luca Pritchett
Volunteer Coordinator – Alison Helmer
Graphic Designer – Matt Reedy
Photographer – Jill Ritter Lindberg

Something Rotten! gets a delightful regional premier at the Marcelle Theatre in St. Louis this month, under the ebullient direction of New Line Theatre founder Scott Miller. . . I felt like a changed man after two hours and fifteen minutes packed with silly laughter and beautifully sung tunes. Unexpectedly, a lot of Mr. Miller’s usual background players seize the spotlight this time, and the sense of discovery is doubled – it’s not just a new musical to me, but a chance to see entirely different leading men and women telling the tale with fresh wit and emotion. . . If there were a prescription for joy, it would come with this show in the bottle. . . I often fail to capture in words how beautiful the singing is at New Line Theatre, and once again it’s one glorious solo after another.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

“The playwright’s the thing in New Lines Theatre’s high-energy and highly entertaining production of Something Rotten! . . . The show is always a good time and New Line’s captivating, fast-paced production doubles the pleasure. . . Director Scott Miller hits the bull’s eye with less over-the-top slapstick and more interconnected and relatable humor in this production. . . New Line Theatre’s smartly interpreted Something’s Rotten! puts the emphasis on the natural humor and empathy that lies in the relationships, old and new, at the center of the play. The approach works marvelously well in the intimate Marcelle theater. . . Well-directed, well-rehearsed performers ensure the many humorously familiar lines and references flow naturally, with just an eyebrow or two raised in confirmation. The show is great fun for all ages with catchy songs, likeable characters and plenty of laughs from clever, relatable humor.” – Tina Farmer, KDHX

“This production of Something Rotten! is terrific. New Line Theatre's production delivers a robust number of laughs from a script filled with nonsense musical theatre references. Director Scott Miller has taken a big, overblown musical and effectively shrunk the performance to a smaller stage with a simple set. . . The entire ensemble delivers exceptional vocals and animated performances. Everyone in this company is first rate. . . New Line’s production of Something Rotten! is an exceptional reimagination of this asset. It illustrates how a smartly written comedy, in the hands of the right director and technical theater professionals, can effectively make the transition to any size stage.” – James Lindhorst, BroadwayWorld

“No matter if it’s a big Broadway show or a promising tryout that flew under the radar, St. Louis audiences know they can expect great productions from New Line Theatre. In the case of Something Rotten!, they’ve taken the hit musical comedy and turned it into an intimate evening of song, dance, and lots of laughs. . . Something Rotten! is one of the funniest shows of all time. The premise alone is hilarious, with a book full of witty dialogue and clever anachronisms. And the songs are fantastic, with memorable numbers coming one after another. . . Director Scott Miller has another winner on his hands, as audiences get to see one of the funniest, cleverest, and more original musicals of the past decade.” – Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

“New Line’s terrific production increased my admiration for the 2015 hit Broadway musical. . . Miller’s encyclopedic knowledge and boundless love of musicals make him an ideal interpreter of Something Rotten! His insightful program notes draw attention to the show’s warning that the pursuit of commercial success can be at the expense of personal and artistic success. Also, Miller points out that Something Rotten! uses the traditional form of the musical comedy in a modern, self-referential way. Miller gets the metatheatrical humor and knows how to put it across to the audience. New Line’s cast is splendid.” – Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle

Something Rotten! is a humdinger of a regional professional theater premiere from New Line Theatre. . . Fresh, funny, and frisky, the cast accepts their mission to have fun with the fluff, and the tight-knit ensemble is downright giddy frolicking in some of the most original show tunes in the past decade. . . Something Rotten! is a must-see comedic gem, a well-cast, well-staged show that’s a bright spot in local theater this fall.” – Lynn Venhaus, PopLifeSTL

“New Line has proved over and over that they know how to take Broadway shows and find more substance while focusing on the characters, often by scaling down to fit their smaller company and performance space. Their latest production, Something Rotten! is another example of this concentrated approach, and for the most part, it’s a resounding success. With thoughtful direction and a great cast, and toned-down production values, this show succeeds in managing to find the heart of its story while maintaining the crackling humor and fun meta tone of the piece. . . It was big and flashy in its Broadway version, but director Scott Miller has impressively toned it down here, making it seem less derivative of the slapsticky tone of the works of Mel Brooks and Monty Python and more like a just as hilarious but also more character-focused story in its own right. With this toned-down approach, all the jokes still land, but the message and the heart ring even more true. . . Overall, Something Rotten! is a real treat. At New Line, it’s not big or flashy, but it looks great, and it distills the story down to its essential elements – music, comedy, truth, and heart. It’s a remarkable example of the idea that sometimes, less really is more.” – Michelle Kenyon, Snoop’s Theatre Thoughts

Sometimes, people think that because New Line produces only smart, socially and politically relevant, adult musical theatre, that we don’t do comedy. But we do a lot of comedy. As Aristophanes knew well, it’s much easier to deal with serious issues through comedy. It’s the “Spoonful of Sugar” theory. So though Something Rotten! is outrageously wacky and transgressive, it also deals with one of the most important questions in our society in the twenty-first century – what is success?

This story is all about defining commercial success, personal success, and artistic success – and realizing that they are not all the same thing, that they are in fact often in opposition. It’s the central conflict between our fictional brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom.

A few years back, I got to interview the real world Kirkpatrick brothers for my Stage Grok podcast when the show first came to the Fox on tour. They are two-thirds of the Something Rotten! writing team, along with John O’Farrell. They told me the idea of the show started with a wonderful What If that’s not only very funny, but unexpectedly resonant in a dozen different ways:

What if Shakespeare’s London operated like today’s Hollywood?

The extra insightful part of this juxtaposition is that Shakespeare’s theatre scene was a commercially competitive world, and Will made his living as a writer; so mashing up these two worlds reveals so much that the two share, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And we see that Bottom’s mistakes all come from chasing that false god of commercial success.

One thing I’ve realized about the show as we’ve worked – in so many ways, it’s a perfectly constructed 1950s musical comedy, but so meta. It uses the tools and devices and construction of old school musical comedy, but it also acknowledges and undermines all those things at the same time. It’s exactly the kind of show I invented the “neo musical comedy” label for, using all those tools inherited from George M. Cohan and George Abbott, but for very different agendas, social, political, artistic, satirical, etc. Something Rotten! is a meta-musical, a show that acknowledges in various ways that it’s a show, referencing not just the show’s story but the act of performing of it as well.

There is a whole smorgasbord of crazy, wild, smart, transgressive, meta-theatrical stuff in Something Rotten! Cynical but idealistic, smartass but big-hearted, steeped in musical comedy tradition and also happily dismantling it. 1595, but also 2022. This is my kind of ride.