Don’t expect anything like standard Elizabethan theater history from “Something Rotten!” the wacky, irrepressible, overstuffed musical on national tour at the 5th Avenue Theatre.
Bubonic-plague jokes? A Mick Jagger-like Shakespeare shaking his booty at swooning fans? Dancing omelets in a breakfast-themed mash-up of “Hamlet” and eggs?
Don’t expect anything like standard Elizabethan theater history from “Something Rotten!” the wacky, irrepressible, overstuffed musical on national tour at the 5th Avenue Theatre. Think Mel Brooks meets Masterpiece Theatre. On steroids.
Through Oct. 1 at 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., Seattle; (206-625-1900 or 5thavenue.org)
The show was set to premiere at the 5th Ave in 2015. But the buzz was so good, it fast-tracked to Broadway, nabbing 10 Tony Award nods during its 700-performance run.
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Now its zany, erratic charms have come to Seattle. In the splashy opening number, “Welcome to the Renaissance,” merry maids and courtiers sporting “plumed hats and pointy shoes” gambol about, name-checking the era’s geniuses (including Will of Avon, “our brightest star/Yo, he’s the bomb”) as they bid a cheeky adieu to the Middle Ages.
Staged and choreographed to the hilt by hot director Casey Nicholaw (“Book of Mormon,” “Aladdin”), with clever lyrics and music by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick, this spectacle is really a gleeful throwback to the Great American Musical, from “Oklahoma” to “Avenue Q.”
And for Shakespeare lovers, it affectionately lobs a battalion of lit-major jests (uproarious and stupid) at the Bard and his canon.
Co-writers Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell slyly worked in names of Shakespeare personae. Winking at Brooks’ “The Producers,” and the Bard’s “Comedy of Errors,” their story centers on Nick Bottom (as in “Midsummer Night’s Dream”), and his brother Nigel (the winning Josh Grisetti), who desperately need a hit to save their failing theater troupe. Nick’s wife Portia (fiery Autumn Hurlbert) tries to help.
In the musical rant “God, I Hate Shakespeare!,” Nick (ebullient, brooding Rob McClure) amusingly rips the rival Bard’s golden boy success — then heads to a soothsayer to get inspiration for his own make-or-break show.
The shaggy Nostradamus (a deliciously weird Blake Hammond)…