By Deanna Walz
Something Rotten, Lincoln Community Playhouse, Friday September 16, 2022 7:30PM
Full disclosure: I am currently the past-president of the Lincoln Community Playhouse. Knowing this, one might make the assumption that I am biased, but in fact the original reviewer for LCP’s production of Something Rotten was unable to attend. I figured I was going anyway, so I signed up to review the show.
That being said, Something Rotten is the best community theater production I have ever seen. And I have seen a lot of community theater. Everything was just so well done. This was a perfect example of a fun, well-written show combined with excellent directing, an enthusiastic cast and good stage production.
Something Rotten is about Nick and Nigel Bottom, two struggling playwrights competing with William Shakespeare during the Renaissance. Unable to come up with a winning idea, Nick Bottom employs a soothsayer, Thomas Nostradamus, to give them an award-winning idea. His suggestion: a musical. The rest of the tale is riddled with references to famous Broadway musicals interwoven with lines from some of Shakespeare’s best plays, weaving the high and low-brow theater experiences into a full-out, bust-a-gut laughfest.
This show was perfectly cast. I can not say enough about the talent of the leads. Sam Ninegar holds his spot as one of the top talents in Lincoln with his sad sack, down-on-his-luck Nick Bottom. I was unfamiliar with the actor who plays Nigel but Sky Lindquist’s pure, sweet tenor was breathtaking during his production of “To Thine Own Self Be True.” I could listen to him sing all night. Tim Andersen absolutely sizzled as the sexy William Shakespeare, putting a pompous rockstar edge on the famous wordsmith.
Stand-out performances also came from Grant Schirmer, who played Nostradamus with a dry and wry physicality. Marikita Saure’s Bea Bottom brought a feminist nod to the time, and her broad portrayal of a character completely driven to supporting the arts had me in stitches. Chloe Schwarting is quickly becoming one of my favorite talents in Lincoln, as she has the charm and the adorably comic physicality to bring a fresh and full life to any character she plays. Newcomer to the LCP stage, Wade Mumford’s self-righteous and sassy Brother Jeremiah is also a hoot.
And chef’s kiss to the ensemble. When you see performers in the ensemble who also perform in leading roles around town, you know you won’t be disappointed. The entire cast brought the Renaissance to life with terrific comic timing, pride and a quirky enthusiasm that made Something Rotten the delightful centerpiece to my evening.
Special shoutout to the choreographer, Ted Blessing. The choreography was perfect in this production: contemporary, edgy and fun. It never took away from the story or seemed too complicated. Oftentimes in community theater, it can be obvious who comes to the production with dance experience and who doesn’t. This show made it seem as if the entire cast had taken years of tap dancing classes. (Idea for Morrie: You should totally sell colorful glitter gloves in the lobby after the show.)
I attended the show with a group of friends. There were several times during the performances — especially during “The Black Death” in the first act and “Something Rotten/Make an Omelet” — when we were laughing so hard we had tears rolling down our faces.
This performance was all around terrific. One might say eggs-shellent. Eggs-trordinary. Running with hysterical yolks and cheesy performance numbers. This show deserves a packed house every night and an extra weekend. You will love it and want to see it again. At least a dozen times.
If you go: Something Rotten runs Sept. 16-18 and 23-25, Fri.-Sat. 7:30PM and Sun. 2PM. Tickets may be purchased at https://www.lincolnplayhouse.com
Deanna Walz is the Director of Development for Habitat for Humanity. She has participated in productions for many theatre companies in Lincoln both on and off stage. She believes in the power of community theatre for the audience, the production team, and for our community as a whole. Sharing stories creates stronger communities.
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