Shakespeare set to music seems like every student’s worst nightmare. What happens, however, when Broadway stars come together to dance around to songs like “God, I Hate Shakespeare” and “Make An Omelette?” A hit!
Right off the bat, the audience is introduced to the bright and whimsical world of the Renaissance. They meet Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who are struggling to be taken seriously as playwrights, actors, and directors against William Shakespeare, he needs no introduction. Portrayed by Christian Boyle, Shakespeare appears as a Mick Jagger-esque figure, costume complete with the signature “frilly-collar” and thick, dark eyeliner. His sonnets are performed not as the traditional, boring sonnet, but as all out rock songs with lights, fog, and, of course, adoring fans.
Nick Bottom, depicted by Brian D’arcy James, is a poor man with a baby on the way, who becomes desperate to produce a hit and pays a prophet, the mystical Nostradamus, all of the money he and his wife had saved up to reveal to him the next big idea while his wife dresses as a an to prove that women are capable of working too. Nostradamus prophesied a musical, a play set to music. Nick is unsure and confused but after the most popular number of the musical, “A Musical,” complete “with song and dance” is performed, his opinion on the idea is completely different and he decides to write a musical. The song itself is a spectacular portrayal of the most famous shows on Broadway including parodies of Annie, Les Miserables, Chorus Line, and Rent. The choreography, music, and vocals matched the spectacular tone set by the iconic elements of the number.
At the next visit with the “all-seeing” soothsayer, Nick asks his companion to foresee Shakespeare’s next big hit, Omelette. Of course everyone has heard of Omelette; it’s Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy. Oh, Hamlet. What could possibly go wrong?
Nick returns to rehearse for his next big production, “Omelette: the Musical,” but finds his players performing something a bit different. His brother and secret weapon, Nigel, has used Nick’s script to write Hamlet. The breakfast food and danishes are replaced with tragedy and Danish royalty, but the lack of eggs sets Nick on edge, and the musical reaches its climax. Nigel is left alone with Nick’s wife, Beau, who convinces him to help his brother write Omelette.
The musical within a musical is not anything you’d expect from a misinterpreted, set to music, Shakespearean play. The scene shifts and one stage a disgruntled prince ponders the meaning of the “funeral boiled eggs [that] still coldly furnished forth the marriage table” and passively begins to forge the plans of his revenge. As the scene progresses and the only thing that seems to have deviated from the original play is the presence of breakfast foods, it takes a wild turn and Omlette’s dead father rises from the grave to sing and dance alongside human-sized boiled eggs.
After the audience has time to recover from their gut-wrenching laughter and utter shock, the lights turn on to reveal a court room where Nick Bottom’s future is being determined. Everyone in the room, including some of the audience, wants the aspiring theater connoisseur to be beheaded. Just as the gavel is about to come crashing down on his sentencing who should appear but his lawyer who strangely resembles his wife. It is only when William Shakespeare comes in to propose his own sentence that Nick Bottom and his family are saved and the whole company is sent to colonial America instead where he can no longer be a supposed threat the the treasure of the Renaissance.
The audience stands and applauds as the team comes on one more time to a reprise of the introduction song and parody that combines all the songs throughout the show in a medley.
Overall the plot, vocals, costumes, and choreography made for an unforgettable show that had something for every age. There wasn’t a dull moment or a bad seat in the house.
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