Menlo School Drama presents the musical farce “Something Rotten”

by Contributed Content on October 22, 2023

Welcome to the Renaissance and the outrageous, crowd-pleasing musical farce, Something Rotten! This Tony Award-nominated musical takes a hilarious and imaginative approach to the history of the theater, combining clever wordplay, witty anachronisms, and a side-splitting dose of irreverence.

Set in the 1590s, the story revolves around the Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel, who are struggling to find success as playwrights in the shadow of the famous William Shakespeare. In a desperate attempt to outshine the Bard, they consult a soothsayer named Thomas Nostradamus, who predicts that the future of theater will involve singing, dancing, and acting all at once — in other words, musicals!

Inspired by this revelation, the Bottom brothers set out to write the world’s first musical, Omelette: The Musical. As they navigate the challenges of their creative journey, the audience is treated to a series of uproarious events, witty humor, and clever wordplay. The show playfully incorporates modern references and anachronisms into the Renaissance setting, creating a fusion of past and present that adds to the humor.

“The Renaissance was never as much fun as it is in the hands and hearts of the students at Menlo School!” says Steven Minning, Director of Creative Arts and Upper School Drama. “I chose the show specifically for the students at Menlo because it’s just one fun number after another and it delights in being as ‘meta’ as possible. It is unapologetically about musicals and about the theater.”

Charlie Hammond, a Menlo School senior playing Nick Bottom in the production, added: “This is such a great show since we have the largest cast post Covid. It features students from every grade which is really fun!”

Jacob Wang, a freshman who is playing Shakespeare commented: “There is something for everyone in Something Rotten! Even if you aren’t the musical type, there is a certain level of connection that the audience will feel towards the wacky and zany characters and it really makes the show fun to watch.”

Continuing the tradition of philanthropy, the Menlo Drama Department strives to ‘Give Back’ both on and off stage. Menlo Drama has raised more than $62,000 for nonprofit organizations, each chosen by the cast because its work resonates with a theme in the show. Menlo School’s production of Something Rotten! will be raising money for Libraries without Borders, which provides mobile libraries and digital resources to under-resourced communities nationally and internationally where access to these services are not currently in place.

Performances for Something Rotten! run Friday and Saturday, October 27-28 at 7:30 pm; Sunday, October 29, at 5:00 pm in Menlo School’s Spieker Center for the Arts, 50 Valparaiso Avenue, Atherton. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $6 for students, available for advance purchase online.  Tickets will also be sold at the box office one hour before each performance.

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