Dream cast. Brilliant writing. A tap-dancing full company including the stars. Raucous and rousing Broadway company numbers and top that all off with a story that's got heart. What more could you ask for on stage - except maybe electricity and running water?
Vocal powerhouse Brian d'Arcy James (Nick Bottom) and adorably nebbish John Cariani (Nigel Bottom) helm the cast along with the "rock star" Christian Borle (Shakespeare). This trio is nothing short of pure hysteria. Mr. Borle showcases his trademark ham-it-up acting style with wild abandon and draws Mr's. d'Arcy James and Bartlett into his lair of comedy.
Speaking of comedy, the creators of this delightful gem, Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick (Book, Music, Lyrics) and John O'Farrell (Book) have discovered the secret to an unflappable smash Broadway hit. Inside jokes (Broadway), subject matter jokes (Shakespeare) and a whole lotta singing, tapping, and dancing in full company numbers. The full company stopped the show no less than 3 times - in both Act I (after A Musical) and in Act II (after Something Rotten! and Make an Omelette). I actually think it even came as a surprise to the company on at least one of the occasions.
The supporting cast is also nothing short of brilliant. Heidi Blickenstaff (Bea) belts out a delightful ballad in Act I. Brad Oscar (Nostradamus) is nothing short of mesmerizing as the Soothsayer who guides us through the journey "just a little bit off". Gerry Vichi (Shylock) plays the old Jew to the hilt and Brooks Ashmanskas (Brother Jeremiah) quite literally steals the show right out from under its stars just about every time he is on stage. And I mean every time.
This show is an homage to Broadway with its references and inside jokes (they come so subtly and quickly you'll miss many, but don't worry another one is on the way). At the same time it is a parody about Shakespeare's work (down to the names of the characters in this show) and in yet another layer, a story about following your heart and sticking to your dreams.
I understand from exiting the theater that the ushers even have a little competition going on to identify all the musical and theater references within the show. Now these people see the show every night and they're still finding hidden gems.
Seriously, the only thing you could ask for is a fresh Omelette on the way out of the theatre!