BWW Previews: SOMETHING ROTTEN at The Playhouse

By: Feb. 25, 2019
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BWW Previews: SOMETHING ROTTEN at The Playhouse

SOMETHING ROTTEN, a musical that national reviewers have exuberantly called 'the funniest show on Broadway", brings its national tour to The Playhouse March 7-10. If your stomach muscles hurt over the antics in THE PRODUCERS, BOOK OF MORMON or SPAMALOT and the much-missed Forbidden Broadway, well, gird your loins! This show is for you.

Rarely do productions receive Standing O's a mere 22 minutes into Act 1. Aisle Say had the opportunity to chat with Greg Kalafatas, who plays Thomas Nostradamus the cousin of of the authentic Nostradamus; funny by itself). Kalafatas commented that this outpouring of affection happens frequently.

The setting is 1595. Playwright brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperately searching for a new ground-breaking production to counter Bill Shakespeare's omnipresence on the English theatre scene. The two consider The Bard a crafty and egomaniacal plagiarist who will go to any extremes to stifle competition. (Sings Will himself, "If your name is Shakespeare, you're hotter than hot,/But if you're any other writer, then you're not").

They visit Thomas Nostradamus for counsel. He IS a sayer of sooths. (We all seek soothsayers. I certainly would seek him out to portend the future!). Thomas suggests the next BIG thing in theatre is a 'Musical'! What? The man must be insane....or psychic. What's "A Musical"? Never had there been a musical in the 16th century. Minstrels, yes. Musicals, NO. Actors discoursing and then immediately moving into song? How ridiculous.

This is the segue into the production number "A Musical", during which Nostradamus and the chorus men don sailor hats, which harkens to several nautical-themed musicals, including SOUTH PACIFIC, ANYTHING GOES and DAMES AT SEA; encapsulating the entire book-musical form in six hilarious minutes. It's chock-full of witty references and energetic dance; simultaneously celebrating and lovingly skewering up everything we hold dear about this peculiar art form, from the 'jazzy hands' of Bob Fosse to the synchronized line dancing of The Rockettes.

For all of us with affection for this singular American institution, this is our type of show.

Kalafatas has made a career of playing over the top characters: Franz in THE PRODUCERS, Emma Turnblad in HAIRSPRAY and The Big Bopper in THE Buddy Holly STORY.

He commented on the audiences. "It takes a bit of time to get them engaged. Most do not know the show. But once "A Musical" hits, everyone gets it and is joyfully along for the ride".

I asked him which show was sillier. "SOMETHING ROTTEN, case closed! It revels in that spoofing genre while delivering an onslaught of production numbers, debauched puns, eye-rolling asides and hysterical trolling of Shakespeare and Broadway".

While the actor Kalafatas - along with his compadres - are living their dream, by no means is it all glamour. The tour began in September and goes to May. Many of the stops are one nighters; i.e. killers. I was chatting with the actor on his bus from Amarillo to Abilene. "You've gotta take care of yourself. The show is over about 11:30 and then to the hotel. You board the bus at 8am. It's close quarters. You stop for lunch, arrive at the next venue. Sound check at 5pm with instructions from the stage manager about the theatre. (each is different, of course). Maybe a nap is squeezed in there. Arrive 90 minutes before curtain and do it again the next day".

March 7-10. New website! TheGrandWilmington 302.888.0200 800.37. GRAND

Coming next month to the baby grand: World Premiere of Judy Garland "World's Greatest Entertainer" JudyGarlandTheMusical. Starring Judy, Frank, Liza and Dean singing 23 American Songbook tunes.


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