Marriott Theatre stages rousing, perfectly cast 'Something Rotten!'

  • William Shakespeare (Adam Jacobs), left, takes a look at the work of rival playwright Nigel Bottom (Alex Goodrich) in the Marriott Theatre debut of the musical comedy "Something Rotten!" in Lincolnshire.

    William Shakespeare (Adam Jacobs), left, takes a look at the work of rival playwright Nigel Bottom (Alex Goodrich) in the Marriott Theatre debut of the musical comedy "Something Rotten!" in Lincolnshire. Courtesy of Liz Lauren/Marriott Theatre

  • Shylock (Steven Strafford) becomes an investor in the Bottom brothers' theatrical scheme in the Marriott Theatre debut of the 2015 Broadway musical comedy "Something Rotten!" in Lincolnshire.

    Shylock (Steven Strafford) becomes an investor in the Bottom brothers' theatrical scheme in the Marriott Theatre debut of the 2015 Broadway musical comedy "Something Rotten!" in Lincolnshire. Courtesy of Liz Lauren/Marriott Theatre

 
 
Updated 9/6/2019 3:53 PM

"Something Rotten!" - ★ ★ ★

As a critic, it's my duty to point out that the 2015 Broadway musical comedy "Something Rotten!" is unabashedly derivative. Authors John O'Farrell and brothers Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick brazenly steal from Shakespeare and a number of hit musicals, while also having no qualms deploying obvious stereotypes for easy laughs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But I suggest you take the advice of the show's heavily accented Jewish money lender Shylock (Steven Strafford): "Don't listen to the critics!"

In a rousing regional debut at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, "Something Rotten!" is something to crow about.

Director Scott Weinstein oversees a dazzling production that is cast to perfection -- right down to the smallest role. Not only do the players wring every possible laugh out of the material, they also uncover a surprising amount of poignancy amid all the anachronistic silliness.

Nick Bottom (KJ Hippensteel), left, seeks help from Nostradamus (Ross Lehman) in the 2015 musical comedy "Something Rotten!" at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.
Nick Bottom (KJ Hippensteel), left, seeks help from Nostradamus (Ross Lehman) in the 2015 musical comedy "Something Rotten!" at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. - Courtesy of Liz Lauren/Marriott Theatre

"Something Rotten!" is set in Elizabethan England as playwriting brothers Nick (a driven KJ Hippensteel) and Nigel Bottom (the more poetic Alex Goodrich) teeter on the brink of failure. Nick seethes at the rock-star success of William Shakespeare (a swaggering Adam Jacobs), but Nigel is a super fan.

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Desperate for a winning idea to outdo Shakespeare, Nick seeks the help of psychic Nostradamus (a spacey and sidesplitting Ross Lehman). He advises Nick to invent "A Musical" in a showstopping song that simultaneously celebrates and skewers musical theater conventions in a brilliant number by choreographer Alex Sanchez.

The hit 2015 Broadway musical comedy "Something Rotten!" receives a regional debut at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.
The hit 2015 Broadway musical comedy "Something Rotten!" receives a regional debut at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. - Courtesy of Liz Lauren/Marriott Theatre

This being the 2010s, "Something Rotten!" embraces its strong feminist humor. Nick's overly supportive wife, Bea (an endearing Cassie Slater), gets loads of laughs as a woman who finds ingenious ways to enter the workforce (and save the day).

The poetry-loving Portia (a strong-willed Rebecca Hurd), meanwhile, proves to be the perfect romantic interest for Nigel. Hurd's Portia shows her strength by defying her puritanical father, Brother Jeremiah (Gene Weygandt, who "doth protest too much" against the intertwined "evils" of theater and homosexuality).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Portia (Rebecca Hurd), left, looks on as her puritanical father, Brother Jeremiah (Gene Weygandt), preaches about the evils of live theater in the Marriott Theatre debut of "Something Rotten!" in Lincolnshire.
Portia (Rebecca Hurd), left, looks on as her puritanical father, Brother Jeremiah (Gene Weygandt), preaches about the evils of live theater in the Marriott Theatre debut of "Something Rotten!" in Lincolnshire. - Courtesy of Liz Lauren/Marriott Theatre

Thanks to the lavish period/contemporary costumes of Theresa Ham and the flashy rock concert lighting of Jesse Klug, Marriott's "Something Rotten!" is a feast for the eyes. Set designer Scott Davis also has fun with pun-filled street signage inspired by the titles of Shakespeare's plays.

"Something Rotten!" bursts with snark and self-referential pride at being such a theatrical know-it-all. But audiences won't mind as Marriott's production delivers strong and consistent laughs.

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Location: Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, (847) 634-0200 or marriotttheatre.com

Showtimes: 1 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday; through Oct. 20

Tickets: $50-$60; discounts available for seniors, students and military veterans; dinner packages available for select Wednesday and Thursday shows

Running time: About 2 hours, 35 minutes with intermission

Parking: Area lots and valet service

Rating: Mild profanity and lots of innuendo, but suitable for teens and older

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