Tap dancing eggs in ‘Something Rotten!’ 

Shakespeare. People either love him or hate him. Nick Bottom, one of the main characters from the musical, “Something Rotten!” hates him. Sings a whole song about it, too. 

Students can hear this song and many others starting today when MSU’s theater department begins a two-week run of “Something Rotten!” Performances  are 7:30 p.m. April 6-8 and 13-15 and 2 p.m. April 15-16 in the Ted Paul Theatre at the Earley Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are $24 regular, $21 for seniors ages 65 and older, children under 16 and groups of 15 or more, and $5 for MSU students.

Set in London in 1595, brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to create a hit play but live in the shadow of “The Bard,” the Renaissance rock star. When a local soothsayer predicts that the future of theater will feature simultaneous singing, dancing and acting, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s first musical. 

Paul J. Hustoles, who retired in 2020, has returned to direct this musical. He didn’t get a proper send-off because of COVID-19, so the theater department decided to have him return and direct this musical. The show will also include celebrating Hustoles’ 35-year career here at MSU. 

“I retired three years ago,” Hustoles said.  “The fun thing is just being invited to come back. It’s a great honor and working with the students again — I’ve missed that. I’ve missed directing. The last show I directed before I left was ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,’ a very serious drama, so it’s fun to get back to directing a farce.”

This musical has a strong female character, Bea Bottom, who is married to Nick. Finn Coughlin plays her and said she enjoys the role.

“She is this super strong, hard-willed woman who cares so much. Some may say too much about her husband and Nigel, Nick’s brother. Bea has that kind of strong woman character, and you see that a lot in the show,” said Coughlin. “She cares for her husband, but also she’s just like, ‘I’m strong.’ I think that just kind of drew me towards her rather than other characters in the show because she wants it to be known that even though she’s a woman, she’s just as strong as any of the other guys on stage.” 

Jacob Haen plays Nigel, the brother who likes Shakespeare. Nigel has been one of Haen’s dream roles since the musical came out. 

“I think he’s put in a really interesting spot in that he loves Shakespeare, but he struggles with the fact that that’s his competitor. He’s a poet and is kind of the brains of the two. But, he’s modest as well,” said Haen. “I’m the youngest child, and he’s definitely like the younger child energy, so I can relate to him on that level. I also think it’s fun because this kind of character usually doesn’t have a love interest. But, in this musical, that’s different. He’s the nerdier character, and he is the one that has the love story arc.” 

Students are encouraged to see the show and don’t need a vast knowledge of musicals to see it. 

“Students need to come to the show. It’s fun to leave your schoolwork behind for a little bit of time and not get drunk all the time. This is the kind of thing that I think they would really enjoy,” said Hustoles. 

Go to the MSU website and look up “Something Rotten!” for more ticket information.

Header Photo: Nick Bottom (William Hallock) directly confronts William Shakespeare (Billy Krager) in musical song “Bottom’s Gonna Be on Top.” (Courtesy MNSU Theatre and  Dance Department)

Write to Lauren Viska at lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.