The Broadway musical comedy “Something Rotten!” plays on a fictitious struggle between the great William Shakespeare and the, shall we say, less talented Bottom Brothers, Nick and Nigel.
A touring production of the show will be on stage at Hershey Theatre Jan. 24-28.
Set in 1595, the show follows the Bottoms as they are constantly outdone by the Bard, whose theatrical rockstar status leaves them jealous and angry (“I Hate Shakespeare”). Shakespearean characters such as Shylock and Portia are woven into the narrative.
Things really seem to go south for the brothers when an actor named Nostradamus tells Nick that Shakespeare’s next hit would be “Hamlet,” featuring a Danish prince. Unfortunately Nick misunderstands and the brothers are soon developing “Omelette: The Musical,” about a prince who likes to eat Danish pastry.
This madcap musical, more than a little anachronistic with references to more recent musicals like “South Pacific,” ran for more than 700 performances on Broadway in 2015, receiving nine Tony Award nominations and winning one (Christian Borle as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as Shakespeare).
“Something Rotten!” features music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, with a book by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick.
Murder mystery returns
Not every resort can promise dinner, drinks ... and murder.
Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs once again will house the popular Murder Mystery Weekend on Jan. 19-21. The three-day weekends for mystery lovers continue through Feb. 9-11 at Allenberry.
The 2018 rendition of the weekend-long dramas is titled “A Recipe for Murder.” It was written by Elizabeth Angelozzi, a 10-year veteran of Allenberry’s Murder Mystery Weekend productions.
The story, which will play out in several of the resort’s buildings over each three-day weekend, involves a search for a new chef at Allenberry. When management assembles a panel of judges from a competition cooking show on TV, the competition turns homicidal.
“We can guarantee zany adventures, great food and drink, and a murder or two,” said Dustin LeBlanc, artistic director of Allenberry’s Keystone Theatrics Company, which stages the shows at the 58-acre resort in Monroe Township.
The weekends, priced at $499.50 per person, include lodging, meals and an ongoing, real-time murder mystery that guests may try to solve. The shows, which went on hiatus when the resort closed in 2015, are back now that Allenberry is under new management.
LeBlanc has his own history with the murder mystery weekends, first as a member of Allenberry’s wait staff and then as a performer. “In one of them, I was the first one to die,” he noted fondly.
Two area theaters will launch new productions this weekend, one a psychological thriller and the other an urban comedy.
At Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg, “The Bad Seed” takes the stage with a homicidal child plot that is almost cliche today but was jarringly original when it first appeared in William March’s 1954 novel of the same name.
The bad seed is young Rhoda Penmark, a seemingly charming girl who is admired for her charm and thoughtfulness. But her mother, Christine, has qualms about her daughter’s true nature, fears that intensify when one of Rhoda’s schoolmates, a boy who won a penmanship competition over her, mysteriously drowns.
Is little Rhoda a killer?
LTM’s production of “The Bad Seed” is from a 1954 adaptation of March’s novel by playwright Maxwell Anderson. It opens Friday and runs on weekends through Jan. 28.
Gamut Theatre Company will dip quite a bit further into the past for its production of “Gallathea,” a gender-bending comedy written in 1588 by Elizabethan playwright John Lyly.
Gamut promises the play will be filled with “gods (big and little), sea monsters, overprotective dads, enchanted nymphs, thwarted virgin sacrifices—and two cross-dressed girls who fall head over heels for one another and declare that love is love is love.”
Sounds like enough to keep a stage crew busy. The play opens Friday and continues through Jan. 21.
Later this month, Theatre Harrisburg will use the comfy confines of its Krevsky Center production center to stage “God of Carnage,” an edgy contemporary tale in which a meeting of two sets of parents becomes far more childish than the behavior of the feuding children they meet to discuss.
Theatre Harrisburg’s production runs from Jan. 19-28 at the Hurlock Street center.
“God of Carnage,” by Yasmina Raza, was written in French (“Le Dieu du Carnage”) before British playwright Christopher Hampton translated it into English for a London production in 2008.
The parents, a thoroughly shallow quartet, meet to discuss a playground fight between their sons that led to one knocking two of the other’s teeth out with a stick. They are soon verbally knocking one another’s teeth out as the evening degenerates into insults and reveals marital cracks.